As the heat of the summer begins to ramp up through the next month, many of us can find ourselves feeling a little out of sorts. Rashes, irritability, acid reflux, nausea, and fatigue can all begin to crop up when the fire element within our bodies (known as pitta in Ayurvedic medicine) becomes out of balance. Because we know that energetically, like increases like, all we need do to keep ourselves healthy in the hotter months is make sure we emphasize cooling foods and activities that will enable us to keep in harmony with our environment.

Swimming, meditation, bathing our feet in cool water, and choosing sweet, bitter or astringent tasting foods like melon, cucumber, and dark leafy greens are all good options for keeping cool. But one of the easiest ways I have found to keep balanced in the summer is simply by stocking my fridge with a variety of cooling, pitta-reducing drinks that not only help to keep my body cool and balanced, but also keep me hydrated. Below you’ll find a selection of my favorites. Here’s to keeping your cool this summer!

Mango Lassi
Serves 2

In Ayurveda, sweet flavors like mango and yogurt are thought to be cooling to the body. Blended with a little lime and cardamom (also cooling), this drink is down right refreshing on a hot afternoon and will leave you feeling revitalized. I also love it for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
  • ½ cup milk of your choice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • ice (optional)

Directions:
Combine all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth, about two minutes. If the day is very hot, you can also add a few ice cubes along with the rest of your ingredients for more of a milkshake-like consistency, or you can also serve the lassi over ice. Top with a little extra lime zest and another pinch of cardamom and enjoy.

Coconut and Lime Spritzer
Serves 2

Both coconut and lime are inherently cooling in nature and complement one another so well. This sparkling drink is my take on the classic G&T, but without the alcohol, which increases heat in the body and causes dehydration. It’s my favorite summer mocktail to sip on the back porch in the evenings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • juice from 2 limes
  • ½ cup sparkling water
  • a few drops of bitters (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • fresh mint and extra lime slices to serve

Directions:
Fill a glass with ice and add the coconut water, lime juice, sparkling water, bitters and maple syrup (if using). Add several lime slices to your glass along with some fresh mint. Stir and serve.

Everyday Iced Tea
Serves 4

Proper hydration is important, and in the summer this means electrolytes as well as fluids. This vitamin- and mineral-rich tea will keep you properly hydrated on even the hottest of days. I keep a big batch of this iced tea in my fridge all summer long and drink it throughout the day.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons hibiscus flowers
  • 4 tablespoons dried nettle leaf
  • 4 tablespoons dried rose hips
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel, dried or fresh
  • 4 slices fresh ginger root
  • 1/8  teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
  • juice of 1 orange

Directions:
Place the herbs in quart-sized container and cover with one quart of boiled water.  Let infuse 15-to-20 minutes and then pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container to remove the herbs. Squeeze the orange juice into the tea and sweeten with honey or stevia to taste. Refrigerate until use.

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Writer Danielle Charles Davies holds a Bsc in Herbal Science from Bastyr University and completed the two-year clinical training program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in Montpelier, VT. Her writing has appeared in Taproot, The Journal of the American Herbalist Guild, and Kindred Magazine, among others. She lives in Northern Michigan with her husband, two dogs and eight ducks. She blogs at www.bluemoonkitchen.com.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.