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  • Donna Nield L.Ac., MSTOM

Summertime: Staying cool and healthy

It’s summertime and the living is easy… except when the heat index is approaching triple digits! The East Village is gorgeous during these bright summer days, but it’s all too easy to allow the excessive heat to rob your body of vital nutrients and electrolytes. There’s an average of roughly? 450 emergency room visits each year in the city for heat-related issues. That number is staggering when you consider that nearly every one of those occurrences was preventable in some way. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are nothing to take lightly. The progressively worsening heat-related illnesses can turn life-threatening very quickly. While we can’t help install air conditioners or monitor everyone’s fluid intake, EVAM is still here to help our friends combat the stifling temperatures that summer brings. One of the underrated benefits of acupuncture is its ability to restore balance to the body’s temperature help the body regulate temperature. There are certain points in our bodies where excess heat can collect. Keeping these areas open an assist the body in releasing that excessive heat.

Beyond the services that can be performed in our offices, though, our favorite hot weather life hack involves one of the best-loved and most delicious summertime snacks. Chinese herbalists speak of the benefits of Xi Gua. In English, we call it watermelon. The juicy red fruit is well-known for its water content. Simply providing additional fluid for your over-taxed summer body is only one of its benefits. According to the USDA the fruit helps stimulate the release of excess perspiration, the body’s natural defensive mechanism against heat. Additionally, watermelon is a great source for antioxidants, amino acids, lycopene, and vitamins A, B6, and C. While we’re all used to eating the red flesh of the fruit, the entire watermelon is edible. Yes, even the green outer shell of the fruit. The white rind area, between the red and the green, is especially rich in in the amino acid citrulline. The body converts citrulline into arginine, an amino acid that assists blood flow, which in turn helps the body react appropriately to the heat. This area of the fruit also has increased properties as a diuretic, promoting the flow of urine out of the body, regulating fluid metabolism. Besides helping to keep your kidneys functioning during hot summer days, it also kills bacteria in the urinary tract (yes, a side benefit is preventing UTIs). We get it… the rind isn’t as much fun to eat as the flesh. That’s why we recommend cutting it up and incorporating it into a salad or smoothie, like this:

Strawberry Watermelon Rind Smoothie Ingredients · 1 cup watermelon flesh· 1 cup watermelon rind· 1 cup strawberries· ½ cup pear juice· 1 tbsp honey· 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions Combine all ingredients in a blender and run until completely smooth. Depending on the size of the rind chunks, the blender might have difficulty completely breaking it down, in which case it might need to be strained. Beyond the heat-related benefits of watermelon, the fruit can help prevent mouth ulcers and kidney stones, and reduce muscle inflammation and soreness. 


When the summer sun is high in the sky, a little bit of Xi Gua goes a long, long way.


The ancient heat beating magic of Xi Gua!


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