Summer Self Health Checkup

June 27, 2017
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Take extra care of your heart and GI tract this season.

Summer is hot—but not in the way you might think. This time of year is especially taxing on your organs. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the “fire” of your heart becomes out of balance because impaired kidneys (the “water” element) are not keeping it cooled, your heart produces hot flashes, night sweats, and palpitations.

You also become uneasy, feel irritable and restless, and experience insomnia and nightmares. Your skin may appear reddish, your cheeks are often flushed, and you may have a red nose.

Get a Pulse on Your Heart

How’s your heart? You might want to check out the color and texture of your tongue in a mirror. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the color of your tongue reflects the health of the heart. What you want to see is a moist, pink-colored tongue. Paleness could indicate anemia, and a coated tongue could suggest digestive problems. Smokers typically will have a yellowish tongue.

You might also want to take a look at your body color, especially your fingertips and beneath your fingernails. Is the color red, pink, blue, or perhaps white? And take note if you have any swelling around the ankles or shinbone, which could suggest poor circulation, too much salt, or fluid retention.

Focus on This Critical Detox Organ

Summer is also the time to focus on your small intestine, an important component of the detox process. The viral nutrients upon which detoxification depends are made available to your body through your small intestine. Linking the stomach to the large intestine, your twenty-three-foot-long small intestine changes the food you eat into useful elements such a glucose, fatty acids, and the much-needed amino acids, with help from enzymes in the pancreas and bile from the liver and gallbladder. The small intestine digests and absorbs nutrients, then ships them off to the bloodstream, where they are carried to the liver.

There they are either used or stored in the form of glycogen, which reverts to the original substances (glucose, fatty acids, or amino acids) when needed to nourish the whole system. Keeping the small intestine clear is vital for the overall health of your body. If your intestinal lining becomes coated with mucus, nutrient absorption is greatly diminished, which zaps your immune system functions and opens the door to food allergies and a number of illnesses, as well as fatigue from a rise in white blood cell production.

Having an impaired digestive tract causes loss of essential building blocks, resulting in poor-quality skin, hair and nails, and indigestion with its accompanying bloating, excess gas, stomach pain and constipation. In fact, your small intestines are the critical stop for digestion and good health. But to function normally, your digestive system (which stretches from your lips to your anus) needs the enzyme ptyalin (which is in saliva), hydrochloric acid (HCL), which is produced in the stomach, and pancreatic enzymes.

Healing Summer Remedies

Rose hips tea is the summertime herbal tea of choice because it is an exceptionally high source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which are important for a healthy heart, blood vessels, circulation, immunity, and the integrity of the GI tract’s mucosal lining.

Other heart-protecting herbs include hawthorn berries, which lower high blood pressure, normalize low blood pressure, and can treat angina, irregular heartbeat, and arterial spasm; cayenne pepper, which is a heart stimulant and blood cleanser known for its ability to regulate circulation; fennel seed, which relieves gas and GI tract spasms and is good for overacidity; and licorice root, which helps to cleanse the GI tract, normalize inflammatory intestinal disorders, and promote intestinal health by stimulating protective mucus secretion for the irritated and porous mucosal lining of the digestive tract.

Garlic, summer’s stinking rose, improves circulation, normalizes high and low blood pressure, and lowers lipid levels while helping to treat arteriosclerosis. Use cayenne, fennel seed, coriander, oregano, and garlic in your summertime cooking to further support your heart and small intestines. Cleansing lemon and lime juices should also be amply incorporated.

Summer is a wonderful time of year, and so long as you take the necessarily steps to support your organs, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Claudia

    Last week, in the midst of liver and gallbladder inflammation, I saw an acupuncturist. She noted my tongue was dark red, meaning poor circulation. A week into taking Bile Builder and Chinese herbs, I’m doing very well. Your list of items to increase circulation include those in a cleanse I’ve used in the past–lemon juice, cayenne and grade B maple syrup–the Masters cleanse. Would you recommend this?

  2. Ann Louise

    Claudia: Thanks for your post. IF your Cleanse is short term, go for it!!

  3. Julie Keys

    Where do you find rose hip teas?

    • Hana

      Grocery stores or health food stores. You can also order rose hips on the Internet.

  4. Michele

    What vitamins should I have while doing the parasi6
    Parasite cleanse.Can I drink white tea,green tea,or teechino while. Doing the cleanse.Also can you suggest some things to eat for breakfast besides eggs while doing the cleanse.


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