It’s warm out; are you eating cooling foods?

Many people are affected negatively by the unusually hot days we are having lately. Excessive exposure to heat can cause many problems. Some of what I’ve been seeing in our clinic include: heat exhaustion, elevated blood pressure, feeling faint, general malaise and fatigue, diarrhea, dehydration, skin rashes, irritability, hot flashes, and an overall feeling of a hot body temperature.

It’s not part of our culture to eat according to the seasons of the year, but that is one important lesson I learned during my years in Traditional Chinese Medicine School. Many Chinese habits are based on the cycles of nature. One habit I have incorporated in to my summertime life is eating cooling foods, one of my favorite cooling foods is Mung Bean. Mung Beans can help keep your body temperature stable, counteract the negative effects of heat, and avoid unnecessary visits to the ER.

Mung Bean, or Lu Dou, is a Chinese Herb, part of the Chinese Materia Medica. This is a cold (yin) herb, used to dispel internal heat, clear toxins, relieve edema by promoting urination, relieve hot weather related discomforts – internally and externally – and even helps resolve irritability! Mung Bean is rich in fiber, protein and carbohydrates, it also comes with a dash of calcium, phosphorus, iron and other vitamins which makes it a very nutritious addition to your diet.

You can find mung bean (not the sprout, but the actual bean) in natural food stores like Natural Grocers or Whole Foods. It’s a natural, holistic and effective way to nourish yourself and your loved ones.

Although this bean is used in Chinese formulas as medicine, it is also a delicious bean, and can be cooked in either sweet or savory ways. Below I have provided a recipe I learned from one of my Chinese teachers many years ago and use in my home, it is called Mung Bean Congee. It’s very simple, yummy and super refreshing for the summer days, that anyone can make from the comfort of their home.

Start by washing 1 cup of mung beans and soaking them overnight. Bring 6 cups of water and beans to a boil. Then simmer until the water turns turbid and beans are soft, about 1 hour or a little longer. Make sure to test the softness of the beans before getting it off the stove, it will look like a soup. Let it cool down and refrigerate. Serve it cold (like a soup, with water and beans,) in a bowl serve a 1/2 to 1 cup amount with a dash of rock sugar, agave, or your favorite natural sweetener. 

In China, they prepare the Mung Bean Congee, keep it refrigerated for the week, and eat a little bowl daily, especially during the hotter days of summer.

People with some digestive problems should avoid mung bean, because they are very high in protein, it may be difficult to digest. Also, as mung bean expel toxins, it may decrease the effectiveness of some medications, so make sure to eat it 2 hours before or after any medication.

– Renata Silveira, MSAOM, L.Ac.



  • 1 cup of dry mung bean
  • 6  cups of water
  • A dash of: rock sugar, honey agave, monk fruit, stevia OR any other natural sweetener


Wash and rinse the beans in cool water, then soak them overnight. Strain beans. Add water and beans to a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat source and bring it to a simmer for 60 minutes or so until water turns turbid and beans are soft. Cool down and refrigerate. Serve cold with a dash of your favorite sweetener.

Serving size is 1/2 to 1 cup of the bean soup.

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