Whether at a picnic or in your backyard, if it’s summer, it’s time cut open a watermelon. Some of my favorite summer childhood memories involve family, cookouts and watermelon. I learned to eat my slice on the grass leaning forward because I couldn’t control that wonderful red juice that ran down my chin. Red, ice cold, and juicy – that’s the way I want it. I don’t even associate the pink balls in many restaurants fruit salad with the tasty “real thing”.
As an adult, I find it interesting that this summer treat is also great for my body. It’s low calorie and has no sodium or fat. No reason to feel guilty. Yes, watermelon is about 92% water but it also is a good source of those magical antioxidants, lycopene, vitamin C, potassium,vitamin B6, vitamin A, and amino acids. Phenolic compounds in watermelon—including flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids—make this fruit a choice for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits. The most important of these antioxidants is lycopene. Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene has been linked to heart health and the prevention of cancer. It has been found that the riper and redder the fruit, the more beta-carotene and lycopene benefits for your body. Be sure to ripen your melons to receive the maximum benefit.
Watermelon is effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure. Many people in tropical regions eat this fruit every day in the afternoon during the summer to protect themselves from heat stroke. In India, you will find the fruit being sold by vendors in almost every street during the summer season. The high amount of water contained in watermelon also stimulates a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.
Please Note: People with serious hyperkalemia, or too much potassium in their blood, should probably not consume more than about one cup of watermelon a day, which has less than 140 mg of potassium. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia can result in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems, as well as reduced muscle control.
Watermelon is great by itself. If you want to try something new, try adding it to juices, a smoothie, your yogurt, or even fruit water. Try cutting in small pieces and tossing with onions, feta cheese and your favorite herbs for a summer salad. For a fruit salad, mix watermelon, cantaloupe, and yellow seedless grapes with lemon juice and peppermint leaves. For a frozen treat, blend and freeze. In whatever way you choose, enjoy them at their peak this summer.
For more information:
7 Surprising Ways Watermelon Boost Health, Vitacost Blog
Health Benefits of Watermelon, Organic Facts
Watermelon: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information, Medical News Today