Seasonal dining: ajurveda and the summer season
Ayurveda, the science of life, has a holistic approach. Instead of treating symptoms, it seeks the cause of disease. It believes that there are three pillars of health:
- proper nutrition,
- a healthy lifestyle,
- and the use of herbs.
By cooking and eating seasonal ingredients, locally grown vegetables and fruits, we benefit all three principles to some extent. Summer is here, when it’s easiest to eat seasonally in our country, as we are bursting with fresh produce!
Nature’s gifts keep our bodies healthy, providing the right ‘fuel’, vitamins and minerals. We probably don’t need to convince anyone that vegetables grown locally and in season are the best for our bodies. Nature knows what we need, and our grandparents took advantage of that. It’s no great folly to exploit it, just to dust off the knowledge of our ancestors. We should not forget that there is life without chia seeds, goji berries and avocados, and that there is a Hungarian superfood.
It is at this time of year, at the end of summer, that the most juicy, cooling vegetables and fruits, be they courgettes, pumpkins or grapes, are in season. Fresh ingredients, grown in our gardens or bought at the market, are superfood. It is the best thing for our bodies and our health to eat these foods every day.
The active substances in grapes reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer or stroke. Phytocompounds in tomatoes protect against atherosclerosis and certain skin diseases. The high levels of luetin and zeaxanthin in peppers help to protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataracts. Leafy vegetables such as chard or collard greens, beet leaves are full of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, calcium, folic acid, vitamins B and K. Sweetcorn is rich in dietary fibre, while being a low-fat but energy-dense food. The root vegetable is surprisingly rich in vitamin C, and the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries have been recognised in Hungarian folk medicine. There are berries, potatoes… We could go on and on…
Before we go shopping for specialities or supplements from far away, let’s take advantage of nature and the season!
If we refine our diets according to Ayurvedic principles – and our own body type – we can achieve even greater results. (If you are interested in your Ayurvedic body type, fill in our dosha test)
Pittas with a fiery physique neglect fried food in the heat! They can do with a good salad in the heat, raw is cooling anyway. Cooked food is fine, of course, but preferably light and not too oily or spicy.
Windy vats should stick to cooked food for now, it’s always best for them, but they can afford a little raw in summer. Now is the time to eat peaches, grapes and plums, but a fruit day is still a must! Watch your fluid intake – even in the form of soup – you can get dehydrated quickly!
Earthy capers should feel free to barbecue, for them a dry, light diet is best. Cooked food is fine, you can use more spices, but in summer you can also serve raw
With one month of summer left, it’s the summer of the old ladies, when there’s still plenty of fruit and vegetables. It’s the time when our grandmothers set to work in the kitchen to preserve the summer in jars and provide the family with healthy food for the winter.
We would like to emphasise – and we will talk about this later – that Ayurvedic food does not mean cooking Indian food. Ayurvedic eating is about using locally grown, seasonal ingredients to prepare food that is right for your body type and keeps your body and soul in harmony. Remember, the fresh garden is the cradle of superfoods.
by Hémangi Dévi Dászi, July 2022