Summer is the perfect time to be outdoors, but with the hot temperatures it’s also important to stay healthy and hydrated. In Ayurveda, the summer season is considered to be the pitta season. The pitta dosha is associated with heat, which can exacerbate imbalances related to excess heat with signs such as skin rashes, gastroesophageal reflux, and an irritable mood. Cooling foods like watermelon are great ways to balance the pitta dosha in this season.
Watermelon is not only a cooling, pitta-balancing fruit; its mineral-rich, 90% water content makes it a wonderful way to stay hydrated in the summer heat. This sweet fruit’s vitamin and mineral makeup includes potassium, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and the antioxidants Vitamin C and lycopene. A newly researched amino acid called citrulline found in watermelon may help prevent excess fat cell accumulation. Research studies have also shown that watermelon can help reduce high blood pressure and even decrease muscle soreness and speed up recovery after physical activity. Watermelon’s benefits go beyond its delicious fruit. Use the inside of the rind on the skin to help cool a sunburn. You can even add the mineral-rich rind to infusions and juices. Eat the seeds for a protein-packed snack. Watermelons absorb everything in the water in the vicinity of the plant so choose organic.
According to Ayurveda, it is important to eat fruits when they are most ripe as they are more easily digested at that time and eating them can even help increase ojas (a byproduct of digestion that enhances immunity and vitality). Since ripe watermelon is quickly digested it is recommended to eat it alone (although a bit of mint encourages overall balance). As always, mindful eating is key to help balance our minds, so take the time to enjoy the moment while eating this sweet treat.
This hydrating watermelon drink contains mint, another pitta-balancing herb.
Watermelon Mint Refresher
3 cups diced watermelon
5 fresh, washed mint leaves
Mint leaf garnish
Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Garnish with fresh mint leaf and serve cool.