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WATERMELON’s Not Only Good Tasting, but Good For Us!
On a hot steamy summer day, I’m not sure if there’s anything better, or more refreshing than a large slice of icy cold watermelon. The only problem is, watermelon is just water with a sweet taste and really has no nutritional value, or at least that’s what I had been told for most of my life. Boy was I wrong. Research is showing that watermelon is loaded with nutritional components that can result in benefits from preventing heart disease, controlling insulin to weight loss.
When we talk about Lycopene we think of the studies involving tomatoes or tomato products such as ketchup or tomato sauce. Lycopene is what gives watermelon flesh its pinkish red color, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Lycopene is readily available from fresh watermelon and gives watermelon a lot more than its color. According to the October 8, 2008, issue of “Cancer Letters” Lycopene inhibits the growth and development of cancer cells in prostrate, breast and endometrial cancer with the strongest effect being on prostate cancer. A study reported by “Cancer Research” in a December 2009 issue stated that women with high levels of circulating carotenoids in their system, such as lycopene, can have a 40% or more reduction in their risk of developing breast cancer. The anti-cancer action from lycopene comes from its antioxidant content.
Watermelon is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, and Vitamin A (beta carotene), both of these are antioxidant vitamins and beta carotene is important in eye health. Watermelon is also rich in the B vitamins especially B1 (thiamine) important to maintain electrolytes and nervous system signal transmissions throughout the body, and B6 (pyridoxine) which is essential for enzymatic functions that convert food into energy
Watermelon is also a great source for the needed minerals potassium and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help in controlling heart rate and blood pressure which may offer protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Magnesium enhances about 300 enzyme related processes. This mineral converts blood sugar into energy. It’s involved in bone and tooth formation. Magnesium (along with calcium and potassium) regulates heart rhythm, clots blood, and assists the body in producing and using insulin.
If you’re watching your weight or your health in general, watermelon makes a great addition to your daily diet. For the weight-conscious, one cup of watermelon contains no fat, no cholesterol and only 2mg of sodium. Yet it has a great deal of water content to help you feel full. It also has a very low glycemic load value, which means it will not adversely affect blood sugar levels.
When buying a melon use the thumping method. Thump by flicking the middle finger off the thumb against the melon, the melon should produce a deep, rich thudding sound. The round or oblong melon should be symmetrical without any flat sides, feeling heavy for its size. The underside where it lies on the ground should be a pale yellow color, not white or light green.
When you’re longing for a sweet snack that tastes good and won’t rack up the pounds, or raise your blood sugar, and fulfills many of your vitamin and mineral needs you have to agree, watermelon is a food for all seasons.
Information for this article was gathered from;
National Cancer Institute – www.cancer.org
National Institutes of Health – http://nih.gov
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture - http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome
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