Ayurved, the Indian science of life, looks at health as a balance between three physical elements (doshas): motion (vatta), material (kapha) and digestion (pitta). One way ayurved suggests we maintain the correct balance is to realize that all foods fall into one of six categories, sweet, salt, bitter, astringent, sour and pungent. Each category either pacifies or aggravates each of the doshas. For example sour and pungent aggravates pitta (the digestive element) which is sensitive to heat. Sweet and bitter on the other hand pacify pitta.
Another recommendation of ayurved is to recognize that each season aggravates or pacifies a dosha. For example spring is wet and heavy and aggravates kapha. Winter being dry and brittle aggravates vatta and the hot summers aggravate pitta. This is why you see outbreaks in crimes of passion during hot summer city days.
So during the fiery dog days we should take additional care to live and eat in a way that stops a build up of fire (pitta-heat). One way is to reduce the intake of salty, spicy and sour foods. Eat more astringent (lettuce, celery, spinach, asparagus, green beans, etc.) and bitter (lentils) foods. Learn three tricks to cool the summer heat tomorrow. Until then, may every meal bring you energy and balance.