The Wonders of Watermelon
Watermelon's are more than just something to enjoy during the summer, they're a nutritional powerhouse. The watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originating from Africa. It's an annual plant that is a special kind of berry known as a pepo. It's packed with phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and triteipenoids for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Citrulline is an amino acids converted by our bodies into arginine. The flesh of a watermelon contains approximately 250 mg of citrulline per cup and is one of the riches sources. After being converted into arginine it then relaxes and expands the blood vessels which can be helpful in the treatment of angina, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems. There's even some evidence that arginine can help prevent excess fat accumulation in cells. It does this by blocking the activity of an enzyme called tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP).
It was once thought that tomatoes were the richest source of lycopene but it's been shown that watermelon actually contains more lycopene by 40%. Lycopene is a phytonutrient that has been linked with heart, bone, and prostate health. It's the red pigment found in certain plant and algal tissues. The antioxidants are thought to help prevent asthma caused by exercise and can be helpful in eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration which can lead to loss of vision, cataracts, and clouding of the lens.
Usually when you think of watermelon water content is one of the things that comes to mind. While watermelon does have a high water content it's also a nutrient dense food. Just one cup of watermelon will provide you with 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron, and 1% of calcium. It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, and betaine.
Little Known Facts
- The juice may relieve muscle soreness.
- It's considered a fruit and a vegetable.
- There's a yellow watermelon known as a Yellow Crimson.
- The seeds can provide small but helpful amounts of iron and zinc. However you would need to eat at least 700 of them to obtain 1-2 milligrams of these minerals.
- It contains about 92% of water.
How to Cut a Watermelon
Berry and Watermelon Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
- Mixed berries (personally I love strawberries and blackberries for this)
- Yogurt, vanilla or plain
- Raspberry Juice
- Put in one cup of raspberry juice.
- Add a handful of berries.
- Cut up and add 4 chunks of watermelon.
- Add 1 tbsp of yogurt.
- Blend for 40-45 seconds.
If the seeds are going to bother you be sure to remove them from the watermelon chunks before you put them in your blender.