Watermelon Girl Explores Summer Fruits Using Traditional Chinese Medicine
“Eating fruit gives our bodies a break from foods that take more effort to digest,” says Paul Pitchford, in his book that unites Western health and nutrition research with the traditions of Eastern medicine. He also mentions that most fruits are alkalizing due to their cooling and cleansing properties, which can help balance the over-consumption of rich foods in the American diet.
Chow shares the benefits of “consuming the rainbow” by eating different colors of fruits (and vegetables). Each fruit contains different antioxidants that help cleanse the body of toxic oxidized agents we are exposed to, such as rancid oil, charred meat, plastic bags, containers and wrappers. Chow explains that fruits digest at a different rate than other foods and therefore are most beneficial when eaten on their own.
Americans love to eat fruit with pancakes, ice cream, and yogurt, which can stifle digestion and cause “wetness”. I learned that the concept of “wetness” in Traditional Chinese Medicine indicates slow digestive capacity. There are many factors that can contribute to “humidity”, one of them being diet. Chow gives some possible “wet” symptoms such as easy weight gain, inflammation, fatigue (especially after eating), chronic yeast infections, and skin problems. I remember that when it comes to fruit, you want to let your strawberry get the full attention of your taste buds.
Too much fruit, however, can also cause moisture. During the Everyday Food as Medicine workshop, Chow mentioned the importance of moderation. An easy way to measure how much of a type of fruit to eat for the day is to take advantage of what fits in the palm of your hand. The ideal time to eat fruit is as an afternoon snack, but while it seems contradictory, a Chinese folk remedy says, “Eat exactly five strawberries before each meal to aid digestion,” Chow adds.
Traditional Chinese Medicine supports life in harmony with your surroundings and you can consult the seasonal fruits and nuts table (a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate urban consumers about sustainable agriculture) to know when certain fruits are in season.
Here are some whimsical scenarios to help you remember the qualities of different summer fruits:
Apricots can help you on your next birding trip. With their temperature neutral, they are said to help your eyesight and increase yin fluids. A few apricots might quench your thirst and soothe your dry throat as you observe this eagle’s nest with your newly enhanced vision.
Cherries are perfect for the Bay Area’s summer fog. As they have a warm temperature, they are suitable for cloudy days at the beach. But do not worry ! Pitchford writes that cherries tone the spleen, which is associated with the emotion of worry. So maybe your beach birthday party didn’t get a lot of sun. You can keep your self-esteem intact by taking advantage of some of this red jewelry that helps you “hold back your ‘essence’ and your qi,” as Chow puts it.
Peaches are excellent after a long hot and dusty hike. They are inherently cool and can promote blood circulation and nourish bodily fluids. Pitchford says they’re great for dry lung conditions. After walking in the sun for many hours, your hot tuna sandwich looked a little dicey, but you still ate it. They can also help gastrointestinal inflammation return home.
Raspberries will come in handy when you are camping. They are temperature neutral and help treat frequent urination, especially at night, Pitchford writes. If you don’t want your sleep disturbed in your sleeping bag, you can consider a raspberry-based dessert before you jump in the bag.
Strawberries are worthy of the spirited summer camp counselor who shouts cheers all day long in the sun. As a refreshing fruit, Pitchford explains that strawberries moisten the lungs and can be used against thirst, sore throat, and hoarseness. They are also great for the skin. If you’re feeling smart, you can do a strawberry puree facial.
Watermelon is best suited to relieve the feeling of cranky heat. Suppose you are celebrating a friend’s barbecue. It’s possible that you had one too many beer, got a little sunburn, and ate a few overly charred burgers. Eating watermelon can cool your stomach, soothe irritability, and help build fluid.