Watermelon is traditionally a summer fruit that is sweet, juicy and cooling in nature.
I remember from my childhood that the local Beijingers would eat watermelon nearly every day to keep their bodies cool and in balance throughout the summer.
Traditional Chinese medicine diet therapy recommends watermelon to relieve thirst and cool the body in summer. Furthermore, it can also help with symptoms of bladder and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The symptoms of bladder and urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are a common and annoying problem for women of all ages especially in summer.
Some women recover quickly while others suffer from lingering infections that come back again and again.
The main symptoms are:
- Frequent urination with an urgency to urinate
- Burning or painful sensations during urination
- Dark or cloudy coloured urine
- Lower back or lower abdominal pain
- Feeling feverish or unwell
Chinese medicine diet therapy understands that during treatment there are certain foods which can have a positive or negative effect on your symptoms.
For bladder and urinary tract infections, eating chilli and hot, spicy foods will make your symptoms worse.
Eating watermelon will help to relieve your symptoms quicker and prevent infections from returning.
Remember: don’t delay to see your western medicine doctor (GP) first for a check-up if you have the above symptoms. UTIs can become a serious problem if left untreated.
The health benefits of watermelon
Relieve symptoms of bladder and urinary tract infections
Watermelon clears heat and dampness from the Urinary Bladder channel by promoting urination to relieve the symptoms of UTIs.
I suggest eating a handful of watermelon or a cup of watermelon and celery juice daily to help you recover from a UTI.
Clear excess body heat in summer
In summer, some people are more affected by the heat than others. Watermelon is a great fruit to relieve excessive body heat, rehydrate the body and prevent heat-stroke in hot weather.
Did you know that you can eat the watermelon rind (the firm, crispy white part close to the skin), which is even more nutritious and effective for clearing heat?
Reduce high blood pressure
Traditional Chinese diet therapy texts also describe that watermelon is especially beneficial for high blood pressure with oedema (body swelling and puffiness).
Research has shown that watermelon has a diuretic effect as well as being a leading source of lycopene — an important compound for lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Recipe: watermelon and celery juice
Juice 3 handfuls of chopped watermelon and 1 stick of celery.
Drink 1 glass of juice every 1-2 days.
Important advice: if you have a urinary tract infection, this recipe can be suitable to have alongside your course of antibiotics. It is not a substitute for seeking medical care.
Precautions and diet advice
Watermelon is generally best eaten at room temperature. It is eaten chilled usually only in extremely hot weather.
Avoid eating watermelon if you are experiencing diarrhoea.
If you are unsure whether or not watermelon is suitable for your body, ask your traditional Chinese medicine practitioner for further advice.