These months are all about this red and green fruit
The fruit that so happens to also be a vegetable is the gift that keeps on giving. A member of the squash and cucumber family, this 92 per cent water ,eight per cent sugar food ,was first discovered in Africa. The earliest records of watermelons grown for harvest are in Egypt, about 5,000 years ago. They were so highly favoured, that pharaohs were buried with them so that they could be sustained in the afterlife.
Back then, it was mostly rind and seeds and not the fleshy sweetness we know today. Sure, the rind has gotten thinner and the seeds smaller. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve become any less nutritious. In fact, you can benefit from eating the entire watermelon. We know, we were all told the story that if you swallowed the seeds a watermelon would grow in your tummy. Nevertheless, it’s time to shelve that myth and start reaping the full benefits of the watermelon. In fact, we’re going to look at the benefits of each section of the watermelon and as a bonus show you how to incorporate the rind and seeds into your diet.
Benefits of Watermelon Flesh
Not only does that high-water content help you with hydration, it leaves you feeling fuller for longer. The fleshy pulp is a combination of water and fibre that gives you a good quantity of food, without overloading your system with calories.
While we’re on the topic of fibre and water, these two also tag-team to give you healthier digestion. While the water keeps things moving in your digestive tract, the fibre provides bulk to promote normal bowel movement.
Soothes Sore Muscles
A workout at the gym can leave your muscles aching, thanks to the build-up of lactic acid. Watermelon juice contains Citrulline, an amino acid, which helps ease the pain by wiping away the excess lactic acid and making the muscles a little more flexible to aid faster recovery.
May Possess Anti-Cancer Effects
Watermelon contains lycopene, which studies have linked to lowering risks of digestive system’ cancers. It also has an element called cucurbitacin E, which has shown promise for inhibiting tumour growths.
May Help Stop Macular Degeneration
Lycopene, can also protect against inflammation and oxidative damage, two common issues that affect several parts of the human eye. Getting them under control aids prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that leads to blindness in older adults.
Healthy Hair and Skin
There are several nutrients in watermelons that are working together to ensure healthier hair and skin. But vitamin A repairs skin cells and aids in the creation of new ones. You can thank vitamin A that your skin doesn’t look flaky or ashy. Vitamin C, on the other hand, targets your hair by helping in the collagen-manufacturing process. Collagen is responsible for making your hair strong and supple.
Asthma Attack Prevention
Interestingly, there is new research linking ascorbic acid – aka vitamin C – to asthma. The lower your levels of ascorbic acid the higher your chance of increased asthma attacks. Watermelons contain as much as 40 per cent of your daily recommended intake.
Protects Nerve Function
Rich in potassium, watermelon can help regulate the nerve function in your body. Potassium prevents nerve tingling and numbness, allowing the nerves to pass on messages and impulses electronically. You can stave off potassium deficiency by tapping into watermelon’s 170mg potassium content.
The body needs to keep itself at 7.4 on the scale to function efficiently. However, the modern diet is so acidic, due to the sugars, processed foods and saturated fats. Watermelon is considered an alkaline and can help neutralize these acidic levels.
Who knew this fruit helped with sexual health? Watermelon has Arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction, as well as, improving libido and reducing frigidity. L-arginine works by dilating blood vessels that supply blood to the penis, improving erection hardness.
Benefits of Watermelon Rind
Believe it or not, the rind is made up mostly of water. It also possesses vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium, zinc and fibre. Because of these properties, it helps the kidneys become more efficient in processing waste, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, breaks down kidney stones, aids weight loss and treats UTIs. Additionally, it’s anti-inflammatory and reduces pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn, swelling, muscle cramps and morning sickness. Did we mention that it also improves skin care? It fights off free radicles and drops oxidative stress, reducing the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and blemishes.
So, how should you derive all these benefits from a part of the fruit we don’t traditionally eat? You can pickle it, juice it, add it to smoothies or shakes, cube and sauté it to add into a salad, use its shavings as a garnish or turn it into a jam.
Benefits of Watermelon Seeds
Whoever started that rumour about watermelon seeds, has denied us their amazing benefits! We’re referring specifically to the black seeds which are fully developed. The mature seeds have a rich mix of antioxidants, nutrients, minerals and a diverse range of essential fats that boost hair health, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, support skin health, improve digestion, improve memory and brain health, strengthen bones and bring down cholesterol levels.
Even if you can’t wrap your head eating them directly, or you’re scared your child will choke on them, there are other ways to prepare them and incorporate them into your diet. For starters, you can take out the seeds and allow them to sprout to make them a nutritious snack. Alternatively, you can roast them for 45 minutes or until they are crispy.