Who doesn’t love watermelon? This extremely popular fruit is an incredible superfood that can enhance the quality of your health because it offers fantastic antioxidant protection. Watermelon is a rich source of lycopene which is a very potent carotenoid antioxidant. It has been shown to protect against prostate cancer, helps to protect your skin from the sun’s rays, and high circulating lycopene levels help reduce heart attack and stroke risk. And that’s just for starters!
Watermelon is also rich in an amino acid called citrulline. Citrulline is a key regulator of blood pressure because it drives the production of nitric oxide. Studies have shown that in adults with prehypertension or hypertension that those administered citrulline from watermelon extract experienced improvements in blood pressure.
The citrulline in watermelon could also potentially reduce muscle soreness after exercise. One study showed that athletes who were given 16 ounces of watermelon juice after an intense exercise session experienced lower levels of muscle soreness 24 hours later compared to athletes given a placebo. Wow! Could you have ever imagined that eating something so delicious could do that?
If you’ve always thought that the juicy red flesh at the center of a watermelon is its only nutrient-rich area, it’s is time to change your thinking! In a recent study where food scientists compared the nutrient content of flesh from different parts of a watermelon, they discovered that there were impressive concentrations of antioxidants, flavonoids, lycopene, and vitamin C in many different areas. This includes the lighter flesh by the rind that most of us do not think of eating. They also found that nutrient distribution varies by the variety of watermelon. But when it comes to top-flight nutrition, you can’t lose no matter which variety you choose!
There are so many ways to eat this healthy treat. Enjoy your watermelon in fruit salad or how about a fun spin like mixing it with thinly sliced red onion, salt and black pepper? You will be surprised how pepper can bring out the flavor of the watermelon. No kidding, try it! Check out some different varieties while you’re at it. They have yellow watermelon at my local Whole Foods and it is so yummy! Enjoy your summer and especially, the watermelon. To your good health!