(NaturalNews) Who would have thought the common watermelon packed so much nutrition? The usual notion about watermelon is they are just water with taste, harmless, but not a good choice for nutritional value. Wrong! Watermelon has the most nutrition per calorie of common foods.
What Watermelons Have to Offer
Besides tasting great and being low in calories because watermelon is mostly water, it is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which a major antioxidant. It has a high beta carotene concentration, thus offering a fair amount of vitamin A as well. Both beta carotene with vitamin A help support good eyesight and prevent glaucoma.
High intakes of combined beta-carotene and vitamin C have demonstrated, through clinical and scientific studies, a propensity for warding off various cancers and heart disease, reducing arthritis symptoms, and minimizing asthmatic breathing problems.
A surprise nutrient is vitamin B, especially B1 (thiamine) and B6 (pyridoxine). Thiamine is important for maintaining electrolytes and nervous system signal transmissions throughout the body. Pyridoxine is essential for enzymatic functions that convert food into cellular energy.
The meat or pulp of watermelons is usually pink or red. Those colors indicate the highest content of lycopene, an antioxidant lauded for its ability to greatly minimize cancer risks. From the Worlds' Healthiest Foods website (source below), "… lycopene has been repeatedly studied in humans and found to be protective against a growing list of cancers. These cancers now include prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers."
Then there are the minerals of potassium and magnesium, which watermelons also offer abundantly. Potassium is important for cardiovascular health and brain health and helps the kidneys eliminate kidney stone forming calcium as well as assists with the body's fluid retention.
Magnesium is considered the master mineral. It is involved with over 300 cellular metabolic functions. It happens to be lacking in our diets because of our depleted topsoils. Magnesium deficiencies are directly or indirectly related to most of our population's poor health issues. Obvious symptoms are irritability, tension, sleep disorders, and muscular cramping. After that, it's heart attacks and other serious illnesses.
Picking and Handling Watermelon
Organic watermelons too rare and pricey? Watermelon is among the cleanest 15 commercial agribusiness fruits and vegetables, and it's not part of the dirty dozen of most sprayed.
Sometimes they're cut, so you can avoid any that have some white or light coloring in its pulp. Then you can press lightly at different spots to make sure they're not over ripe while observing the pink/red color quality. Deeper red/pink is better. If they are not cut, pick them up one at a time, holding them on your shoulder and near your ear while knocking on them the way you would knock on someone's door. What you hear should be a somewhat hollow echo. If it goes thunk without as though it solid, that's no good. Too hollow a sound could be less optimum. Trail and error will help you develop the knack for picking the best.
Watermelons don't lose as much nutritional value cut and stored in the fridge as most other produce. But it's wise to pull the piece out long enough for it to go to room temperature. This maximizes its phytonutrient capacity.
So allow yourself to indulge in a great tasting, refreshing, and healthy treat with watermelon whenever you desire.