Watermelon is the fruit that is actually a vegetable, related to pumpkin, cucumber and squash..
Originating in Southern Africa, it was first cultivated in Egypt as depicted in hieroglyphics painted on building walls. Water was in short supply in countries of the Mediterranean and people could depend on thirst-quenching watermelon.
• Watermelon is about 92% water and 6% sugar by weight.
• The first watermelon harvest was 5000 years ago in Egypt, but it originated in Kalahari Desert.
• Russia, China and Turkey are the biggest producers.
• Over 1200 varieties is grown in 100 countries of the world.
• Every part of watermelon is edible including seeds and rind- the whitish green part between the skin and the red flesh.
• Salted and roasted watermelon seeds are also consumed as a snack in Arab countries.
Watermelon Nutrition and Health Benefits:
• Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, and rich in beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B5 and smaller amounts of B1, B2, B3 and B6 and vitamin C.
• Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production.
• It is mildly diuretic and excellent for flushing out the kidney and bladder, taking out waste materials.
• Antioxidants that get rid of toxic wastes in the body hep indirectly reduce asthma attacks.
• As watermelon juice cleanses the body of toxic wastes, it also greatlyreduces itchiness that result from toxicity of acidosis.
• Watermelon is a great source of lycopene- which is well known to be available in cooked tomatoes. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.
• Watermelon seeds are excellent sources of protein and oil: about 35% protein, 50% oil, and 5% dietary fiber.
• Watermelon is a rich source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and smaller amounts of copper, iron and zinc.
• Watermelon juice can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseasesby increasing the good cholesterol and preventing the bad cholesterol blocking the arteries.
• It has the amino acid Arginine to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction, Lower Blood Pressure, Improve Insulin Sensitivity.
Watermelon Glycemic Index:
Watermelon has quite a high glycemic index of 72. But it certainly isn’t bad for you! 6g of carbohydrate is found in a serving size of 120g of watermelon , so its glycemic load is very low, 72/100*6=4.32, rounded to 4. It will not cause an instant spike in your blood sugar.
Selecting and Storage:
• Watermelons don’t ripen after being picked so what you see is what you get.
• Don’t buy watermelons that are white or pale green or very hard as they will be immature and acidic.
• Choose the ones free of bruises, cracks or mold, with a melon like fragrance or smell.
• The touch test is ineffective with watermelon because of the thick skin. You will need to thump and use your ears to pick the perfect one.
• Cut watermelon should be eaten immediately but the whole watermelon can last in the fridge up to a week.
Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988 1988. PMID:15220.
Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
Watermelon Nutrition Facts: http://www.whfoods.com/ genpage.php? tname=foodspice&dbid=31.
http://www.juicing-for-health.com/watermelon.html : Watermelon Nutrition and Health Benefits.
Juicy Details: Ian Swift Dives into the Legend of the Watermelon”. Vietnam Investment Review, June 2003.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Watermelon Nutrition .