Summer's Favorite Fruit

July 14, 2011

Watermelon is a favorite treat for hot summer days. What a wonderful surprise that something so deliciously refreshing brings great nutritional benefits along with every bite!
  • Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a major antioxidant.  It also has a high beta carotene concentration which also offers a healthy dose of vitamin A.  These powerful antioxidants neutralize free radicals. High intakes of combined beta-carotene and vitamin C have demonstrated, through clinical and scientific studies, the ability to ward off various cancers and heart disease, reduce arthritis symptoms, and minimize asthmatic breathing problems. A single cup of watermelon provides 24 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and beta-carotene, 11.1 percent of the RDA for vitamin A.
  • Watermelon is also a great source for vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B6 (pyridoxine). Vitamin B1 is vital for the maintenance of electrolytes and nervous system signal transmissions, while vitamin B6 is required for the enzymatic functions that convert food into cellular energy.
  • Watermelon also contains an abundance of potassium and magnesium. Potassium is important for cardiovascular health and brain health, helps the kidneys eliminate kidney stone-forming calcium and helps maintain balanced  fluid retention in the body. Magnesium is active in over 300 cellular metabolic functions! Magnesium deficiencies are directly or indirectly related to a broad variety of our population's poor health issues. Symptoms include irritability, tension, sleep disorders, and muscular cramping.
  • Watermelon is an outstanding source for the carotenoid lycopene. Recent research shows watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, even tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant known for its ability to significantly reduce cancer risks. These cancers include prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers. Watermelons with pink or red pulp have the highest content of lycopene.
  • Watermelon is a source for the essential amino acid arginine. A recent study in the journal Nutrition shows that watermelon juice is a rich source of a metabolic precursor for nitric oxide that's required for muscle growth!
Researchers at Florida State University used an extract of watermelon for the research on nine participants in a study where study participants were given a daily dose of six grams of the combined watermelon amino acids. All of the participants showed reduced blood pressure after six weeks! Researchers concluded that watermelon could be used by people who have pre-hypertension to keep the condition from progressing to high blood pressure! Did I mention that one cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories?

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