Properties and Benefits of Watermelons: It’s summer and the days are long and hot, the sun is scorching and we feel as if we are slowly melting even when we are lingering besides the pool with a refreshing beverage in our hands. When temperatures seem to go through the roof, many of us feel like all our energy is being drained slowly and there seems to be no cure for this.
Fortunately, there is: the wonder-fruit for boosting your energy levels in summertime is the delicious and nutritious watermelon. Watermelons (or Citrullus lanatus) are originally from Africa. Their exterior is light green with long dark green stripes while the interior is a delicious, incredibly juicy and sweet flesh, that ranges in colour from light pink to deep red. However, this is but one variety.
It may come as a surprise, but the interior of a watermelon can also be yellow, orange or white and have a bitter or even savourless taste. These varieties are less popular, yet just as nutritious as our all-time summer favourite, the common watermelon.
Why are watermelons so dearly recommended for consumption during summer? First of all, they are approximately 90% water (and about 6% natural sugars). When the temperatures are high, our body sweats excessively in order to keep cool which means we lose more water than usual. Water is essential for practically every bodily function so it is imperative that we replace all that has been lost as soon as possible.
A great way to accomplish this is to eat a few ‘slices’ of watermelon (well, huge chunks). Not only will you completely rehydrate yourself, but because watermelons are incredibly sweet, chances are you will be able to get more water from the fruit than you would have by merely drinking it. Excess water is quickly eliminated and a slight increase in the frequency of urination is great for our kidneys because they manage to get rid of many toxins this way.
Most people believe that dehydration is not a serious issue which is why they take this matter lightly. But the truth is that when we sweat excessively our body loses not only water, but also important minerals and vitamins. As a consequence, many people end up fainting or have little to no energy or previous medical conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, may worsen.
Watermelons are, once more, a great solution to preventing such unfortunate events. For instance, 100 g of fresh watermelon contain significant amounts of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is great for vision, while vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Because the fruit are also incredibly delicious, you will most likely eat more than 100 g and thus have a far greater intake of the vitamins.
Watermelon is also rich in lycopene, a highly potent phytochemical (it gives the flesh of the watermelon its red colour). The joint effects of vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene are scientifically proven to reduce cardiovascular disease risks. Basically, if you eat watermelons, these substances will get into your bloodstream and clean the blood vessels, thus reactivating your circulation.
In addition to this, lycopene is said to effectively prevent the formation of a variety of cancers. Though the amounts are not significant, watermelons also contain vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, alongside magnesium and potassium. The latter are our heart’s best friends.
Remember, when it is hot outside and you feel low on energy or have a fainting sensation, try eating foods that have potassium and magnesium in them, preferably with a high water content (such as watermelons or bananas). This should relieve your symptoms and help you get through the day smiling. Watermelon seeds are also a great source of important nutrients, ideal for keeping in good health.
Watermelons are especially great if you have children. Because they are incredibly sweet and juicy, there isn’t a child who will say no to a refreshing slice of watermelon or even a large glass of juice. The fruit can easily replace a sweet snack and you will have the certainty that both you and your child stay hydrated.
However, it is not wise to eat too much of anything. Watermelons, for instance, are mild diuretics, therefore if you eat too much, you might have to take several unplanned trips to the bathroom.
Overall, watermelons are incredibly delicious and nutritious, not to mention versatile. For instance, watermelon rind is highly appreciated in many cuisines, where it is cooked and served as a dish-proper or pickled in order to serve as a side dish. In more traditional cuisines, the rind is made into jam. And did you know that watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of Pharoh Tutankhamun himself? The fruit was also depicted in numerous Egyptian hieroglyps.