by Sharon Quercioli
When I was a little girl growing up, my Daddy used to buy a watermelon and a loaf of Italian bread. He would sit down at the table and have his favorite thing—watermelon and bread with a little salt on it. I would say ugh! How could you eat that Daddy? That was, until I tried it! Yummy!!! To this day, I sometimes have that special treat that my Dad would love. I just wish he were here to have it with me.
Watermelon is a natural source of some of Mother Nature’s most powerful antioxidants, like vitamins C and A, which help protect us from a number of diseases. This magical fruit reduces the risk of dehydration. Good thing! When I think of watermelons, I think of summer. They are inseparable!
Watermelons are found almost everywhere in the world. When the heat of summer tires us with thirst, eating watermelon is a great alternative to drinking energy drinks. Because it contains a high quantity of water, it hydrates us as opposed to other drinks that are caffeine filled, and which can easily rob us of the fluids we need. Besides, nothing can be more pleasurable on a hot, dusty day than a sweet, crisp, juicy slice of watermelon!
Now let’s learn about some of the health benefits.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATERMELON
- The health benefits of watermelon are truly remarkable. No matter how it is sliced, it is packed with some of the most potent antioxidants.
- Watermelon is the only fruit that contains higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelons have been in the public eye more and more in recent years, primarily because of their impressive level of lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient compound that is increasingly being linked to cancer prevention. As the years go by and the studies continue to bring in consistent results, lycopene has been shown to significantly reduce the risks of prostate, breast, colon, lung and endometrial cancer.
- Diabetic patients, who are supposed to have a low energy and low sugar diet, often complain about starving since they don’t get to eat their staple diets, which gives them the feeling of being half-fed. Well…Watermelons can be a good supplement for them. In spite of being sweet in taste, a thick wedge will give you very few calories, since ninety nine percent of its total weight is composed of water and roughage. Moreover, the various vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium help in proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus lowering the blood sugar level. Arginine, another component found in watermelons, is very effective at enhancing the impact of insulin on blood sugar. Diabetic patients can also have curries, steaks and salads made from water melon rinds, which are even lower in sugar.
- As mentioned previously, the beautiful red watermelon is a major source of antioxidants, which travel throughout the body neutralizing free radicals—substances that oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to our blood vessel walls, thus thickening them. This can lead to heart attack or stroke. Moreover, the lycopene that gives fruits the attractive red color that we find in watermelon can help reduce the risks of prostate cancer.
- Once again, watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, particularly through its concentration of beta-carotene.
- Watermelon soothes sore muscles. According to a recent study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes’ heart rate and next-day muscle soreness. That’s because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.
- Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Food experts recommend watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Because of its higher water content (approximately 90%) and calorie value, watermelon is ranked more valuable than other fruits.
- Believe it or not, watermelon could be a natural Viagra. Improved circulation can benefit more than just the heart, as at least one researcher has recently claimed. But you’d probably have to eat an awful lot to achieve the desired effect, and eating too much could cause unfortunate side effects since watermelon has long had a reputation as a natural diuretic.
- Another benefit of the antioxidants in watermelon is that they help reduce the severity of asthma. They also reduce the risk of colon cancer, asthma, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer.
- Watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium, all of which protect our body from so many diseases. Watermelon is fat-free but helps energy production. It protects against macular degeneration (if you eat a lot!) because of the beta carotene, vitamin-C, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Watermelons contain a lot of potassium, which is very helpful in cleaning or washing out the toxic depositions in the kidneys. Moreover, it is helpful in reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood, thereby reducing the chances of kidney damage and the formation of renal calculi in that organ. Being high in water content, it induces frequent urinating, which is again helpful for cleaning of the kidneys. Also, the anti-oxidants present in watermelon ensure good health of the kidneys for a long time, and reduce signs of premature aging like wrinkles and age spots on the skin.
I also want to share a couple of my favorite watermelon concoctions:
- 4 cups of watermelon
- 1 kiwi
- 2 teaspoons of chia seeds
- ½ lemon
- 1 dash of Himalayan salt
- Ice cubes (optional)
Blend and enjoy!
When choosing a watermelon, look at the color of the skin; it should be brightly colored and not too shiny or dull. Many employ the thump test, but the best option is weight. A ripe watermelon will feel heavy for its size.
- Combine kiwi, lime juice and watermelon in blender. Drink watermelon to enjoy the nutritional benefits when you don’t have time to eat them.
- Combine watermelon, cucumber and cantaloupe for a summer salad.
- Puree watermelon, kiwi and cantaloupe and mix with Greek yogurt for a summer gazpacho.
- Puree watermelon and place in popsicle molds. Freeze until you have refreshing melon-pops.
- Blend 1 cup of watermelon, and combine with 1 shot of tequila for a healthy low-calorie margarita!
I know you are thinking the same thing I did when I started to research the health benefits of watermelon. Who would think that it is so good for you and so yummy!