WATERY WONDERFUL WATERMELON
Is it hot out? Duh. Do you need something to eat that is yummy, cooling, good and good for you? If you answered yes – then you may be thinking about watermelon. If you are, you’re not alone. Watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S. What you may not know, is exactly how good watermelon is for you in terms of nutrition.
Even though watermelon peaks in July, there is still plenty of good watermelon to be found in your local market or neighborhood vegetable and fruit stand. There are more than 300 varieties of watermelon grown in the U.S., although only about 50 are popular. Watermelon, of any variety, stacks up strong against other popular fruits and vegetables.
DID YOU KNOW…
To pick a good watermelon, look for one that has a smooth rind and has a hollow bass sound when thumped.
- Watermelon has more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables a pink or red color. Cup for cup, watermelon has one-and-a-half times more lycopene than a tomato. A 2014 study revealed that lycopene decreased stroke risk by more than 19%.
- Watermelon juice may relieve muscle soreness. In a study comparing watermelon juice to a placebo, the watermelon juice reduced muscle soreness for men who drank it before a workout. It is thought to be a result of an amino acid called l-citrulline. The danger of drinking the juice however, is that it is high in fructose (a sugar).
- Like a tomato, watermelon is a fruit and a vegetable. That’s because it’s a sweet, seed-producing plant and the rind (skin) is edible.
- Watermelon seeds and the rind are both edible. Try putting the rind in a blender with some lime. It’s good! The rind has more of the citrulline than does the pink flesh of the watermelon. Citrulline is converted to arginine in your kidneys, which helps promote heart health.
- Yellow watermelon is sweeter than the pink-fleshed variety.
- Watermelon is also known as “nature’s Viagra” and that’s all we’ll say about that.
- Watermelon is low in calories (46 per cup) and rich in vitamins C, A and B6, potassium and magnesium.
WAYS TO EAT WATERMELON
We hope you’re storing your watermelon in a cool area (the refrigerator typically) at 50-60 degrees. To consume your watermelon, here are a few ideas you may not have thought about:
- Drink it. It’s mostly water anyway so juicing it is a great way to consume this fruit/vegetable.
- Slice it. If you put a popsicle stick into the rind, it can be a watermelon lollipop.
- Chunk it up and take it with you in a cup for a snack (or dessert).
- Smoothie it with yogurt and a banana.
- Carve it artistically and use it as a fruit bowl.
- Grill it with spices added.
- Turn the rind into pickles, chutney or a slaw.
- You can also use the seeds either raw (they taste sort of nutty) or after sprouting. Sprouting is a process where seeds are soaked and germinated. Sprouted seeds, nuts or legumes are known to be higher in nutrition than others. For best results, sprout watermelon seeds along with others like green mung beans, sesame seeds or black chickpeas.