Our Favorite Fruit: Watermelon

by Alana Cowan

Summer may be coming to a close, but there is still time for a slice of juicy watermelon. Serve it at your next BBQ or slice it up at the beach, this sweet fruit is a favorite summertime treat, and it’s full of nutritional value! Eat it alone, or chop it up into your favorite summer recipe, eco18 is crazy about watermelon and here’s why.

Health Benefits:

1. It’s packed with antioxidants! Watermelon is packed with lycopene, an antioxidant particularly beneficial for your heart health and even helpful in preventing certain types of cancer.Of all the red and pink-tinged fruits, watermelon has one of the highest concentrations of it. Plus, research has shown that cut watermelon retains its lycopene content for up to seven days after being cut and refrigerated before showing signs of deterioration. It also contains beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that can help fight cancer and protect cells.

2. Watermelon also contains high levels of vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, heart and eyes!

3. It’s full of potassium, which helps regulate muscle and nerve function and can lower blood pressure.

4. Watermelon has many anti-inflammatory properties, helping to block production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Watermelon also contains a phytonutrient called cucurbitacin E, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Watermelon is also a rich source of citrulline, an amino acid that the body can convert into the amino acid arginine, which can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, overall boost cardiovascular health, and even help form molecules know to affect the deposition of fat in the body.

6. For those trying to watch their summer figure, Watermelon is low in calories because of its high water content—watermelon is up to 92 percent water. One cup of watermelon contains just 45 calories.

Other healthy snack attributes: it’s high in fiber, low in fat and is an alkaline food.

Choosing the right one:

A fully ripe watermelon contains far more nutrients than an under-ripe watermelon, so if you’re growing your own, be sure to allow the melon to fully ripen before harvesting. If you’re buying watermelon from the store or farmers market, look for a melon that feels heavy for its size, with a smooth, dull rind that has a yellow “ground spot” (the area where the watermelon was resting on the ground as it grew; under-ripe melons will have a white or green spot). If you’re buying pre-cut watermelon, look for flesh with a darker red color that has no white streaks.

Easy Summertime Watermelon Recipes:

Arugula, Feta, Mint and Watermelon Salad from Food Network 

Watermelon Citrus Cooler from Better Homes and Gardens 

Watermelon Jalepeno Gazpacho from FitSugar

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