LETS TALK FRUITS; Watermelon.
Watermelon is a flowering plant species of the Cucurbitaceous family. A scrambling and trailing vine-like plant, it was originally domesticated in Africa. It is a highly cultivated fruit worldwide, with more than 1,000 varieties. There are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini, yellow, and orange. Watermelon is an extremely delicious fruit that can calm you down on a sunny day because it contains 91% water, but that’s not all, it also has so many health benefits.
Here are six of watermelon’s important health benefits, how to pick a perfectly ripe fruit, and a few ways to incorporate watermelon into drinks and desserts.
- Watermelon keeps you hydrated
Because it contains about 91% of water, watermelon is very hydrating, one cup of watermelon contains five ounces of water. Consuming an adequate amount of fluid from water-rich foods supports circulation, skin health, and digestion. It also helps regulate body temperature, organ and joint function, metabolism, appetite, and waste elimination.
2. It boasts key nutrients and few calories
Watermelon is lower in calories and sugar than you may think. One cup of watermelon provides 46 calories from 11 grams of carbohydrate, 9 grams of which are naturally occurring sugar. But that natural sweetness is bundled with vitamins A and C, which support immune function and skin health, in addition to smaller amounts of potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and health-protective antioxidants.
3. Watermelon helps lower blood pressure and improve circulation
L-citrulline, a natural substance in watermelon (particularly in the white part of the outer covering), has been shown to improve artery function and lower blood pressure by helping blood vessels relax, which opens up circulation.
4. It can lead to healthy weight management
Watermelon may help support healthy weight management when it’s consumed in place of a processed sweet snack. Since this fruit consists of mostly water, it gives you a feeling of fullness and this will curb your appetite from snacking on junks. And because it is low in calories, it supports healthy weight management.
5. Watermelon offers digestive support
While watermelon isn’t very high in fiber, the fiber it does contain supports healthy gut function. The fruit also contains fluid and prebiotics, a type of fiber that stimulates the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. Prebiotics are tied to healthy immune function, anti-inflammation, and positive mood. Prebiotics also boost mineral absorption, improve blood glucose and insulin levels, and may protect against colon cancer.
6. It helps defend against disease
Watermelon is one of the best sources of lycopene, an antioxidant known to combat oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to counter their harmful effects. The protection lycopene provides reduces the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. For the most lycopene, opt for traditional pink/red flesh watermelon, which packs much more of the antioxidant compared to other varieties.
How to choose and store a ripe watermelon
The trick to choosing a ripe watermelon is to look for a yellow or cream-colored splotch or ground spot (Watermelons develop a splotch where they rest on the ground) that is the fruit’s key sign of peak ripeness. It should also feel heavy when you pick it up (big or small), since over 90% of a ripe watermelon is indeed water. When this splotch is creamy yellow, it’s ripe.
Give it a thump: Tap the underbelly of the watermelon. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound, which means it is brimming with juice and at the peak of its ripeness. Under-ripe or overripe melons will sound dull.
Ways to enjoy this delicious fruit
Fresh watermelon is amazing as is, but it can also be incorporated into both sweet and savory recipes. Combine cubes or watermelon balls with other fresh fruit in a simple fruit salad, garnished with fresh mint or a sprinkle of fresh grated ginger or shredded coconut. You could also add this delicious fruit to a smoothie and enjoy it with a blend of other fruits.
So, why don’t you have some goodness of this delicious and extremely hydrating fruit by enjoying it alone or juicing it or even adding it with other yummy fruits.
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Penelope Perkins, et al, Watermelons and Health, International Society for Horticultural Science (Acta horticulturae, 731), 2007.