For the US and other mid-latitude countries north of the equator, the sun’s rays in the summer months hit the Earth at a steeper angle than in the winter. Because the light is not as spread out (so it hits the earth more directly) the earth —and it’s inhabitants—absorb more of the sun’s energy. As we absorb the increased heat from the sun, the quality of Pitta or heat increases in our own physiology.
The sun gives off three kinds of ultraviolet waves throughout the year: UVA, UVB and UVC. Only the UVA and UVB rays actually hit the earth. While UVA rays are fairly consistent in intensity all year round, the greatest amount of UVB rays hit between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. As a result, we are getting a double dose of light rays during the summer. This can contribute to conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage and skin cancers. UVB rays can also suppress the immune system, reducing our ability to fight off maladies.
Luckily, the perfect organizing power of nature provides summer fruits and vegetables that have a wonderful capacity to protect our skin from UV rays. A medium-size red bell pepper, for example, provides more than 200 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Researchers have suggested that vitamin C can promote the repair of DNA that has been damaged by UV rays.
HEALING SUMMER FOODS
Red and Orange Vegetables and Fruits
Red fruits and vegetable are rich in lycopene. a natural pigment and carotinoid (antioxidant) responsible for the red color. It turns out that consuming more lycopene can protect your skin from sunburn. A study showed that intake of 2.5 tablespoons of tomato paste daily can reduce the UV rays damage up to 50%. Lycopene also helps rid the body of free radicals.
Beta-carotene — another type of carotenoid found in red and orange produce (like carrots) — has been linked to reduced reactions to sunburns.
Orange and pink citrus fruits contain lavanoid, which has been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays.
Additional healing food
Spinach contains lutein, a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage.
Staying out of the mid-day sun, eating meals on time, choosing Pitta-reducing foods, avoiding strenuous activity, keeping well hydrated with room temperature water and other drinks, and eating lots of fresh produce are simple steps you can take to help keep your Pitta pacified during the hot summer months.
Signs of an aggravated Pitta include excess stomach acid, heartburn, skin eruptions, insomnia and irritability. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a visit with an Ayurveda expert can help to identify foods or habits that are aggravating Pitta and give recommendations to avoid more serious imbalances.
For more information on consultations with Ayurveda experts, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:
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