https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js With the start of spring and summer just around the corner watermelon is in season and is the perfect addition to picnics and grilling out with your family. But, what exactly is in that tasty treat? You may be surprised about the nutritional value found in watermelon. Below are some interesting facts about this popular summer fruit.
People have been growing watermelon for centuries. In fact, the first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. Watermelon is the most consumed melon by weight in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. 92% of watermelon is pure water and early explorers used watermelon as canteens.
Watermelon has many different nutritional benefits as well. Did you know that Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health? This vitamin also boosts immunity by enhancing the infection-fighting actions of white blood cells. Watermelon also contains another immune system booster; Vitamin B6. This vitamin helps the immune system produce antibodies which are needed to fight many diseases. Vitamin B6 also helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells. It is also used to help break down protein. The more protein you eat, the more Vitamin B6 your body requires. A two-cup serving of watermelon also contains potassium which helps balance your water levels.
Watermelon contains only 30 calories per 100g serving. It is also rich in anti-oxidant flavonoids like lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. These anti-oxidants help fight and prevent cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, lung and pancreas.
Next time you visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store add a delicious watermelon to your basket. Below are a couple of nutritious watermelon recipes that you can try.
Cold Watermelon and Beet Soup
1 T of Canola Oil
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound of beets, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
4 c of low sodium chicken broth
2-1/2 cups of diced seeded watermelon (rind removed)
1 T of chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
In a large stockpot over medium heat, gently saute sweet onions in the canola oil, stirring often, until onions are limp and translucent. Stir in beets and carrots. Reduce heat to low and cook until beets and carrots begin to fall apart, about 35 minutes. Continue stirring often to avoid burning and sticking.
Add chicken broth to onions, beets and carrots. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the solids and reserve the liquid.
Place beet, carrot and onion solids in a blender or food processor. Add watermelon and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in reserved liquid.
Refrigerate soup for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving chilled. Garnish with chopped mint leaves (optional).
Asian Watermelon Fruit Salad
1 T of Canola Oil
1 1/2 cups of raw cashews
3/4 c of Splenda or other sugar substitute
1 T of crushed dried mint
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
7 lemons, juiced
1/2 cups of Splenda or other sugar substitute or more to taste
1/2 can (15 oz) of unsweetened coconut milk
1 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped, or more to taste
6 c of watermelon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 c of cantaloupe, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 c of honeydew, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 kiwi fruits, sliced
3 c of fresh seedless grapes
1 apple, diced
1/2 c of raisins
1/2 c of shredded coconut
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cook and stir canola oil, cashews, 3/4 c of sugar substitute, dried mint, cayenne pepper, cumin, and coriander in a skillet over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved and cashews are browned (about 8-10 minutes). Spread cashews over the prepared baking sheet to cool. Place lemon juice and 1/2 c of sugar substitute in a blender. Blend until sugar substitute is dissolved. Add coconut milk and ginger; blend until smooth. Combine watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, grapes, apple raisins and shredded coconut in a large bowl. Pour coconut mixture over fruit and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle cooled cashews over fruit salad and serve and enjoy!
Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger, publisher, freelance writer, online merchant and mother of five children, living in The Pacific Northwest. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms and features several health expert writers and mom bloggers. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.
Ms. Talbert is a featured health blogger at Wellsphere.com and her articles can also be found on ezinearticles.com. She also runs the Healthy Moms Social Network on Ning, manages Mom’s Natural Health and Wellness Store, and is on the Social Media Advisory Board for America’s Wellness Challenge.