It's June - bring on the fruits of summer! One of my all-time favorites is watermelon. This massive fruit is packed with health benefits, so instead of providing a recipe today, I thought I'd share some of the reasons why we should all keep things simple this summer and just snack on watermelon in all its inherent glory. First things first, pick the best, most delicious watermelon you can: look for a smooth rind, heavy for its size, with one side of the fruit displaying an area of distinct color.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
- Vitamin C - Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing a hefty dose of cancer-preventing antioxidants. Just one cup of watermelon delivers 21% of our daily vitamin C needs.
- Lycopene & Beta-Carotene - These anti-inflammatory carotenoids are actually found to increase as a watermelon ripens. This is one of the rare fruits that improves its nutritional profile by sitting in the fruit bowl for a few days (no more than 6 though!) - however, this only happens with a whole, un-cut fruit, and when it is stored at room temperature.
- Water - Probably not a huge surprise that watermelon is comprised of approximately 92% water, but it's actually beneficial to us as a food because it quenches our thirst and keeps us cool on hot summer days.
- B Vitamins - Watermelon is particularly rich in vitamin B6 and B1, both great for energy production in the body.
- Potassium - Rich in this kidney-protecting and blood-pressure-lowering mineral, watermelon is a very useful detoxifying food. The potassium content helps to flush out toxins through the urine, so if you feel the urge to pee after you eat some, you'll know it's working!
- Watermelon Summer Spritzer (Relish)
- Feta, Watermelon & Green Bean Salad (Delicious magazine)
- Halloumi, Watermelon & Mint Salad (Good Food magazine)
- Watermelon & Cucumber Cooler (Healthy Food for Living)
Oh, and that stuff about spitting out the seeds? Not necessary! The seeds actually contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, as well as protein and healthy fats, so chew away (the nutrients won't be absorbed without some good chewing though!) - although, watermelon seed spitting is fun too :)
References: WHFoods.com, OrganicFacts.net