There are over 1200 varieties of watermelons grown in 96 countries of the world. Their shape varies from oval, to round and square, to make tacking easier while the flesh colour ranges from red to yellow. The newer varieties have been crossbred to deliver more fruit and thinner rind.
A close relative of cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, the watermelon is a negative-calorie food. This means that the body has to burn more calories to digest the fruit than it provides. Better even is the fact that every part of the it is edible including seeds and rind. Most watermelons range in weight from five to fifty pounds, and due to their large size it is possible to purchase portions of the fruits in many grocery stores.
Cooling Watermelon Juice
- 2 cups seeded watermelon cubes
- Handful of mint leaves
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt to taste
- Honey (optional)
Add all ingredients in a blender and process at high speed for 30 to 40 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.
One cup of diced watermelon, approximately 150 grams delivers only 43 calories, no fat or cholesterol, and one gram of fiber. The same one cup serving fulfills 17% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A, 21% vitamin C, 2% iron and 1% calcium. Additionally, watermelons provide vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, choline, lycopene and betaine. In fact watermelons house more of the vital nutrient lycopene than any other fruit or veggie.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
Considering that watermelons are roughly 92% water, they make for great hydrating drinks. One Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry study even found drinking watermelon juice before a workout could cut down on muscle soreness the day after the workout and reduce heart rates. This is accredited to the rich amino (L-citrulline) content in watermelons which aid in relaxing blood vessels and improving circulation.
The antioxidant lycopene found in abundant quantities in the fruit, is believed to have the capacity to not only treat, but prevent prostate cancer. It is also linked with the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, extracts of watermelon has been shown to reduce blood pressure in obese middle-aged patients and aid in improving arterial function according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension. Choline, another vital nutrient in watermelons is associated with improving nerve impulse transmission, maintaining cellular membrane structure as well as aid in sleep, muscle motion in addition to memory and learning.