Health Snack: Fresh Watermelon

Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit. It’s tasty, wonderfully refreshing, and watermelons peak during the hot months of summer. Today we took slices of our local, organic watermelon outside to eat as we enjoyed a hot, plans-free summer afternoon. It felt and tasted like a slice of paradise.

 

Healthy Snack: Fresh Watermelon

 

In addition to tasting delicious, watermelon is also wonderfully healthy. Here are some of the health benefits of watermelon:

 

Watermelons, in spite of being 92% water, are nutrient dense, containing a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including large amounts of Vitamins A and C, more lycopene than any other vegetable or fruit, as well as a wide assortment of other nutrients (Szalay, 2014).

 

In addition to the health benefits associated with high amounts of vitamin C, which include helping to protect against asthma as well as cancer-causing free radicals (Ware, 2015), studies have shown that watermelon extract promotes heart health by lowering blood pressure and improving arterial function (Szalay, 2014).

 

The high amount of lycopene in watermelon may help to protect against heart disease and prostate cancer as well as to promote bone health (Szalay, 2014). Lycopene has also been shown to reduce the incidence of stroke, brain tumors, and ovarian cancer (Mercola, 2014).

 

Watermelon, with its high water and fiber content, helps to keep your intestinal track healthy and moving (Ware, 2015). And the high water content as well as the electrolytes in watermelon can help to keep you hydrated and prevent heat stroke (Szalay, 2014).

 

Watermelon is a good source of choline, which reduces inflammation, helps with fat absorption, assists with the transmission of nerve impulses, maintains the structure of cellular membranes, as well as aiding our bodies in memory, learning, muscle movement, and sleep (Ware, 2015).

 

Researchers have found that watermelon reduces muscle soreness and improves recovery time after exercising, perhaps due to the amino acid l-citrulline, and the amino acid L-arginine, also contained in watermelon, may help with erectile dysfunction (Mercola, 2014). The citrulline in watermelon may also help to prevent the over accumulation of body fat (WHFoods, 2015).

 

Watermelon is also great for your skin. The Vitamin A in watermelon is required for sebum production which moisturizes hair (Ware, 2015). Vitamin A is also needed for all tissue growth within the body, including hair and skin, and the Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which provides structure for skin and hair (Ware, 2015).

 

And something I learned while researching for this article, the watermelon is completely edible both inside and out. That is, the rind is edible (which I knew because I’ve seen recipes for watermelon rind pickles), and the seeds are also healthy and edible (which I did not know before). Watermelon rind is full of chlorophyll, and also contains a lot of the amino acid citrulline which is important for heart health as well as immune system function (Mercola, 2014). The seeds contain fiber, iron, protein, and zinc (WHFoods, 2015).

 

This new information means I’m no longer going to work so hard to deseed my watermelon pieces before serving them. And after this reminder, the next time we’re making watermelon ice pops I’ll try blending the rind in with the fruit.

 

Do you enjoy watermelon in the summertime?  What’s your favorite way to eat it?  Did you know that watermelon seeds are edible?

 

Sources:

Mercola, J. (2014, July 21) 6 Things You Didn’t Know about Watermelon. Mercola.com.

Szalay, J. (2014, October 7) Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts. Live Science.

Ware, M. (2015, June 16) Watermelon: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information. Medical News Today.

WHFoods (2015) Watermelon. World’s Healthiest Foods.

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