Watermelon: Learn the Many Health Benefits of This Refreshing and Delicious Fruit!
With a striped green rind and fresh pink flesh that drips its juice down elbows and chins, the watermelon is a favorite fruit for its sweet flavor and refreshing qualities. Watermelons can be carved into salad-bearing boats, made into a sorbet or eaten as-is in slice form, but did you know that the juicy and ripe watermelon is chocked full with nutrients and health benefits?
BENEFITS OF WATERMELON
Watermelons originated in Africa and were first cultivated in Egypt where their existence was recorded in hieroglyphics on temple walls. Today watermelon is eaten all over the world and is best during the hot summer months. However watermelon is much more than a tasty treat; this fruit is packed with disease-fighting nutrients and is actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat!
Part of the cucurbitaceae family along with cantaloupes, squash and pumpkins, watermelons are nature’s thirst quencher at 92% water. Besides excellent hydration qualities, watermelons also contain natural ingredients that quell inflammation, a major factor that contributes to asthma, arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes and colon cancer.
The tubby watermelon is packed with powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body and fight against disease. One cup of watermelon contains 25% of your daily value of vitamin C, and the fruit also delivers a sweet dose of thiamin, potassium and magnesium. Also rich in vitamin A in beta-carotene form, watermelon protects against macular degeneration, one of the main causes of age-related blindness. Pink-colored watermelons, the most popular variety, are also a fantastic source of lycopene, whose cancer-fighting properties have been well documented.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WATERMELON
Be sure to wash the watermelon well before you cut it, as dirt and germs can transfer from the rind to the flesh with the knife.
Cut the fruit into slices, cubes, or scoop out into balls; this cut melon will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Serve slices alone as a healthy and delicious summer dessert.
Mix small cubes with cut red onion, salt and pepper for a unique summer salad.
Freeze chunks of watermelon, and then blend for slushy treat. You can also add ice cubes, honey or skim milk to change the consistency of your slush.
Watermelon chunks are great in any fruit salad. Try mixing watermelon with cantaloupe, mint leaves, and lemon juice for a refreshing summer appetizer.
Roast watermelon seeds, salt and munch- a popular snack in Asia!
Blend watermelon chunks with a touch of honey, sweet white wine, sparkling water, ginger and lemon juice; refrigerate for several hours and then serve your chilled summer soup!
Pickle or candy the edible watermelon rind for a South American treat.
Chop watermelon along with green bell peppers, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno; sprinkle with lime juice and enjoy your watermelon salsa with baked tortilla chips.
Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.