When we think of hot summer days and picnics, we think of watermelons. The refreshing quality and sweet taste help to combat the heat and provide a guilt-free, easy to prepare dessert. Made up of 92 percent water and full of important electrolytes, watermelon is a great snack during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration.
Watermelon is actually a nutrient dense food. It provides high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and just a small number of calories.
One cup of watermelon contains: 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron and 1% of calcium
SPECIAL HEALTH BENEFITS:
Choline – found in watermelon – is a very important nutrient that helps our bodies sleep, aids muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.
Skin – Watermelon is great for the skin. It contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production, which keeps hair moisturized.
Muscle soreness – Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown in athletes to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise. Researchers believe this is because of the amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon.
Watermelon fast facts!
- There are five common: seeded, seedless, mini (also known as personal), yellow, and orange.
- They have been grown for thousands of years, they were enjoyed by the Ancient Egyptians
- They belong to the botanical family “Cucurbitaceae”, along with cantaloupe and honeydew
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China is the top producer in the world, with 75 million produced in 2014.
- Watermelon is thought to aid conditions including asthma, cancer, and inflammation.
- They has more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, which has been linked to reducing prostate cancer.
- There is a National Watermelon Promotion Board!
Is it ripe? – Look for a watermelon without any soft spots or bruises. Tap it gently. If you hear a hollow sound, it is ripe.
Ways to use:
- Cut in half. Scoop pulp out with a melon “baller”, then fill up the “melon container” with the melon and other fruits of choice!
- Slice in rectangles, wrap and freeze for a tasty cold Popsicle-style snack.
- Put diced watermelon and a few ice cubes in a blender for a cold, refreshing electrolyte drink.
- Blend as above and add to your favourite smoothie
- Scoop out in “balls” (using a melon utensil), wrap in prosciutto or salami. The salt and watermelon are great combinations.
Watermelon Salad – Dice watermelon, mint, and fresh mozzarella (or feta cheese), gently toss with Arugula or spinach, and drizzle with balsamic dressing.