Jul 092013

watermelon nutritionIf you’re looking to beat the summer heat look no further than the wonderfully thirst-quenching and nutritious watermelon—long reminiscent of summer picnics and state fairs.  But how much nutrition is in watermelon?

A watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 91% water by weigh, but is a great source of Vitamins A and C and the much need electrolytes, such as potassium, to beat scorching summer temperatures.

What is the Nutrient Content of Watermelon?

In approximately one cup of melon balls, or cubed melon there are 46 calores, Fat: 0.2g, Carbs: 11.6g,  Protein: 0.9g, and 0.6grams of fiber.

What are the Health Benefits of Watermelon?

The meat or pulp of watermelons is usually pink or red. Those colors indicate the highest content of lycopene, an antioxidant know for its ability to greatly minimize cancer risks. From the Worlds’ Healthiest Foods website “… lycopene has been repeatedly studied in humans and found to be protective against a growing list of cancers. These cancers now include prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers.”

It is also known as the richest edible source of L-citrulline, a type of amino acid that helps promote and regulate healthy blood pressure. Once it is in the body, L-citrulline is processed and converted into another type of amino acid, L-arginine.  As I’m sure many of you have heard, L-arginine, in supplement form, has been prescribed in huge quantities to prevent, cure, or heal many ails, but other research shows that L-arginine may have harmful effects on some individuals.

So, as always, it’s better to get your nutrients from food, rather than supplements.   Simply eating watermelons can be very effective in naturally fighting off pre-hypertension and therefore, considerably lessening the risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Tips for picking a ripe Watermelon

Make sure the melon is free of dents, bruises and cuts.  Look for a pale yellow spot on one side of the melon where it laid on the ground ripening.  If this spot is not present it’s an indication that the fruit was picked to early.  The best place to buy is from a fruit stand or farmers market.  And then there’s the old secret of tapping on it.  If it makes a hollow sound, it’s ripe.

Tips on storing Melon

Bacteria can grow on the surface of most melon, so it’s important to wash the whole melon in cold running water or wipe well with wet cloth to remove any surface dirt and insecticide/fungicide residues. Once the melon has reached it’s peak ripeness, store in the refrigerator.  Since any fruit is better when sliced ripe, often times I’ll cut up or ball the whole melon and freeze half for smoothies.

Although watermelons can be grown in all the seasons under tropical environments; they are at their best during summer months. In the stores, try to buy organically grown melons since they are richer in taste and nutrients.

Recipe for Watermelon Citrus smoothie

I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s recipe for a sweet and tangy Watermelon Citrus smoothie, or take a beautiful watermelon bowl to your next picnic or potluck.

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