June: Watermelon

by Nicole Brown

It’s (almost) summer – you know what that means? Time to break out the sunscreen, the pool floats, and finally put those quarters to use on boardwalk arcade games. Summer calls for long, lazy days basking in the sun. While doing so, it’s important to keep hydration in mind and have something refreshing close by to help cool you down. What’s a more iconic, hydrating snack than watermelon on those hot summer days? Nothing, which is why they are the food of the month!

Health Benefits
Watermelons’ main component is, you guessed it, water, which really comes in handy as the sun beats down. Aside from water, this fruit is jam packed with nutrients, making it a necessity for your next grocery haul. One cup of watermelon provides 21% DV of vitamin C and 18% DV of vitamin A, all for a mere 46 calories.1 Lycopene, the antioxidant that gives watermelon its red color, has been researched extensively for its health benefits. Studies have found that lycopene reduces oxidative stress, which can bring about diabetes, CVD, and cancer.2 Watermelon contains more lycopene than any other raw fruit or vegetable.

Runners and avid gym-goers may find watermelon to be their new best friend. A recent study randomly gave athletes a natural watermelon juice or a placebo drink after their workout. The study concluded that those given the watermelon juice had reduced muscle soreness 24 hours after physical activity.3 Researchers attributed this benefit to the amino acid, l-citrulline, which is found largely in both the rind and flesh of watermelon.

Adding Watermelon to Your Diet
Think there’s only one way to eat watermelon? Think again! Watermelon can be diced and added to salsa, frozen into popsicle sticks, or grilled and placed atop salads. For an easy, on-the-go snack, try the following watermelon smoothie on your way to the beach this summer.

Watermelon Delight (from allrecipes)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth

References

  1. Jennings, Kerry. Top 9 Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon. Authority Nutrition. https://authoritynutrition.com/watermelon-health-benefits/. Published September 15, 2016. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  2. Naz A, Butt MS. Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims. EXCLI Journal. 2014;13:650-660.
  3. Martha P. Watermelon Juice: Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013 61 (31), 7522-7528
  4. Watermelon Delight Recipe. Allrecipes. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/242180/watermelon-delight/?internalSource=hub recipe&referringContentType=search results&clickId=cardslot. Published June 15, 2015. Accessed April 19, 2017.
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