Watermelon | Facts, Benefits & Recipe
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Watermelon | Facts, Benefits & Recipe by Coach Helen Young
Watermelon

Watermelon | Facts, Benefits & Recipe by Coach Helen Young

It’s berry good for you.

The humble watermelon is up there as a giant of the fruit family.

A standard addition to a fruit platter and an easy and popular sweet, juicy snack for the kids. There are many advantages to eating watermelon – adults and kids alike will benefit from adding more of this amazing fruit into their diet.

Fun Fact: Did you know that watermelons are actually a giant berry?! Scientifically referred to as pepos, you can eat the entire fruit, including the seeds and rind.

Made up of over 90% water, it may also surprise you to that these giant berries also pack a punch nutritionally too. 

The water content in all fruits and vegetables is some of the purest water you can consume. If you struggle to drink enough water each day, eating high water fruits like watermelon can be included in your recommended daily water consumption of 1L for every 22kgs of body weight.

So Much More Than Just Water

Bathed in that 90% water are a huge range of essential minerals, vitamins and carotenoids, antioxidants and more.

Have you ever heard someone refer to their head as a melon? The high water content of a watermelon is similar to the water content of the human brain. If you ask me, and based on the Doctrine of Signatures (where plants resembling various parts of the body can be used to treat ailments of those body parts), it kind of looks like a human head; hard shell on the outside and soft, water-dense tissue on the inside.

The vitamin B6 contained in watermelon helps to create neurotransmitters which are important chemical messengers in the brain. It is also essential for the production of serotonin and dopamine, which allows for a good night’s sleep. Vitamins A and E, shown to protect against macular degeneration and promote eye health, and vitamin C are well-known antioxidants essential for strengthening the immune system, helping prevent damage to cells and aids in wound healing are also present. 

Watermelon has the highest concentration of the carotenoid lycopene of any fruit, with up to around 40% more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene gives fruits and vegetables their red/orange colour and is a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that eating lycopene is effective in reducing the extent of cancer insurgence, in particular prostate cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and macular diseases. Around a cup and a half of watermelon per day would provide you with beneficial levels of lycopene.

Watermelon is also the richest source of the amino acid, citrulline. Citrulline is known to boost nitric oxide in the body, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels to maintain arteries, blood flow and cardiovascular health. Interestingly for this reason, it has also been labelled a natural Viagra.

Some studies have suggested that citrulline may also provide anti-depressant effects and improve moods. 

If you can find watermelon with seeds they are a powerhouse of nutrition. Watermelon seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense varieties of seeds. They are a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, magnesium, folate, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and more. All these nutrients together help in boosting your body’s metabolism. 

How to Enjoy Watermelon

To be honest, there is nothing better than eating a wedge of watermelon straight out of the fridge, but there are lots of ways to enjoy it and incorporate it into your diet.

When I juice fast, I usually have what I like to call a ‘sunshine’ juice in the morning – with orange, pineapple and watermelon. For a quick and easy popsicle you can blend, pour and freeze in a popsicle mold.

If you want to spice things up a bit, try this simple watermelon and cucumber salad.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp oil
1 lime
800g watermelon cut into sticks
2 cucumbers, halved and cut into sticks
Small handful of mint, finely chopped
Small handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced

Step 1:
Mix the oil and juice of lime together.

Step 2:
Gently combine watermelon, cucumber, mint and coriander on a plate.

Step 3:
Sprinkle over the jalapenos and pour over the dressing.

To end I’ll leave you with a lovely quote from Mark Twain,

“When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.”

Thanks for reading!

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