Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Watermelon--Juicy Health Benefits

Big or small, seedless or not, nothing says summer like a big, juicy watermelon (or a seed-spitting contest off the deck). But there is a lot more to this melon than water. Turns out it's packed with phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, and a good hit of potassium, plus some B6 and thiamine -- everything except fat, sodium and calories. Juicy, sweet with a bright pinkish-red flesh dotted with black and white seeds, watermelon is messy—but that’s part of the fun.

The health and nutrition benefits of watermelon are many!

*Achieve that younger-looking skin with just 2-cups of watermelon daily. Research showed that watermelon cuts the risk of sun related skin damage by 40%. That's because watermelon is nature's richest source of lycopene, an antioxidant that scavenges the UV-induced free radicals that cause sunburn and wrinkling.

*Eating watermelon is a safe alternative to taking energy drinks prior to exercise. It also hydrates you due to its high water content as opposed to caffeine filled energy drinks that dehydrate you.

*Watermelon will also help protect your eyes against macular degeneration , It fights the age-related symptoms of vision loss. Studies show that eating watermelon is actually more healthy for your eyes than eating carrots. That is true in both short-term and long-term vision loss.

*Watermelon is very low in calories, making it the perfect snack for those who are trying to lose weight.

*Supplementing watermelon into your diet can help prevent and fight cancer, particularly colon cancer. It does this because of its rich antioxidant profile. The antioxidants of the watermelon are very concentrated and kill the cancer causing free radicals.

*Another incredible health benefit of eating watermelon flesh is, "Watermelon may be a natural Viagra", according to

Store uncut watermelons at room temperature. They continue to develop nutrients after picking and refrigeration halts the process.To guarantee the tastiest fruit, place watermelon in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing it. A quick chill causes the fruit's cells to constrict. This means the juice stays in the slices instead of running out onto the cutting board.

4 servings
3 cups diced watermelon
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup crushed ice
½ cup water
Dash of black pepper or cayenne -- optional flavor twist for heat-lovers
Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend into a frosty slush.

If eating watermelon seeds raw doesn't appeal to you, you can toast them and sprinkle them on your salads. Place a half-cup of watermelon seeds in a skillet with a quarter-cup of water. Cook them over medium heat until the water has evaporated- about 10 minutes. Let them cool before you use them.

What's your favorite watermelon--seeds or seedless, red or yellow? Do you eat the seeds or spit them? How about the rind? I've never eaten it but I've heard it actually contains lots of nutrients too!
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