Watermelon, the fruit that is really a Vegetable. Watermelon can be traced back to Africa and is part of the cucumber and squash family. Early watermelons were mainly rind and seeds. Today's varieties are larger, the flesh sweeter, the seeds smaller and the rind thinner. It is perhaps the most refreshing, thirst quenching fruit of all.
Watermelon is an all-American favorite for meals and snacks. People can't seem to get enough of the sweet treat, and nutritionists have long appreciated the health benefits of watermelon. In fact, the American Heart Association recently recognized watermelon's nutritional properties by giving it the "heart healthy" seal of approval. Now research has shed new light on its potential health benefits.
Watermelon consists of 92 percent water and 8 percent sugar, so it is aptly named. Americans eat over 17 pounds of watermelon each year.
Watermelon contains high concentrations of lycopene that may help reduce the risks of prostate cancer. A study conducted by Harvard University researchers found that men who ate lycopene-rich diets of tomatoes and tomato products had a much lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
According to the USDA Caratenoid Database, Watermelon is the Leader in Lycopene among fresh fruits and vegetables. And, it's functional! Watermelon is fat free, nutritionally low in calories and considered an ideal diet food, and is high in energy, making it a great energy boost! Nutrients in watermelon include vitamins A, B6, C!
Watermelon is practically a multi-vitamin unto itself. With a 2-cup serving of watermelon containing excellent levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, this product contains a number of nutrients that are vital to good health.
Watermelon Aids Detox
Watermelon is a good source of an important liver cleansing substance called glutathione. It helps to ensure that both phases of detoxification within the liver continue at the same speed, thereby preventing toxic buildup in the liver.
Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health, can help prevent nightblindness, and boosts immunity by enhancing the infection-fighting actions of white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Vitamin B6 found in watermelon is used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic.
Vitamin C in watermelon can help to bolster the immune system's defenses against infections and viruses and can protect a body from harmful free radicals that can accelerate aging and conditions such as cataracts.
A two-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps.
When to look for watermelons in your grocery store:
Watermelons are available all year. The natural sweetness of watermelon makes it a favorite anytime of the year. It is a perfect addition to a salad, salsa, or cool drink. Top chunks of sweet watermelon with fruit flavored sherbets or sorbets.