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Staying Cool in Shanghai (Plus The Ultimate Hot-Weather Smoothie!)

Temperatures are rising…Shanghai summer is here! With its extremely high temperatures and high humidity, Shanghai isn’t just uncomfortable in summer but can be a perfect environment for illness. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), heat and dampness are two pathogens that can affect the body and cause diseases such as headaches, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite.

Here are some tips for staying cool and healthy this summer:

Work-rest-balance

Traditionally, the Chinese get up and go to bed with the sun and organize their work-rest-cycle according to the sun’s cycle. When the temperatures are high, it is advisable to reduce exhausting activities during the hottest part of the day. Try to relax during midday and get up earlier in the morning when it is cooler outside. Do physical activities during cooler hours. Get sufficient sleep.

Exercise

Summertime should not be an excuse for stopping regular exercise. The early morning or late evening hours are perfect times to do light exercise. When temperatures are over 28 degrees (or 82 Fahrenheit), do indoor sports or swimming. Drink extra fluids before/after working out.

Diet

Food can help cool down the body from the inside, as the Chinese and many cultures have known for ages. In general, summer is the right season to eat fresh raw foods, lightly cooked vegetables and fish. Recommended fruits and vegetables are those that grow naturally in summertime, e.g. white mushroom, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and eggplant.

Some of the best cooling foods are watermelon, cucumber, strawberries and mint. These foods nourish the body’s fluids, expel heat from the body, reduce swelling and strengthen the digestive system that is often weakened by dampness and heat.

As the body looses a lot of fluid through sweating, drinking sufficient water is crucial to staying cool. Unsweetened teas such as peppermint, green, chrysanthemum or lemon tea are good alternatives. Avoid ice-cold drinks as they promote dampness in the body and can harm the digestive system.

The hot temperatures promote bacterial growth on food, so exercise additional caution with the sources of your food during the summer months. If you experience problems, there are very effective Chinese herbs for diarrhea and other digestive ailments. It is easy to become dehydrated when ill, so seek treatment quickly and replace fluids.

Try this simple and refreshing smoothie!

It consists of cooling fruits, helps with constipation and strengthens digestion.

Ingredients: 100g white pear, 100g apple, 50g banana, 1 teaspoon honey and fresh water

Preparation: Wash and peel the pear and the apple, peel the banana. Cut everything into pieces. Mix the pear and the apple in a blender with some water. Add the banana and the honey to the mixture and add some more water according to your taste.

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