Is there any food that goes with summer better than watermelon? Maybe it’s the fun of slicing that great green orb — outside on a picnic table, of course — or the pink, syrupy juice getting your fingers delightfully sticky. However you slice it, watermelon is a summer staple.
In celebration of National Watermelon Day on Aug. 3, we want to share some of the health benefits of this sweet fruit, along with our favorite ways to prepare it. Enjoy!
The Benefits of Watermelon
Did you know that watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable? You probably knew about the fruit side, since watermelon is so sweet. But it also has cousins in the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers, squash and pumpkins.
In addition to traditional watermelon with pink flesh, there’s also a variety that’s yellow inside. The nutritional value of the yellow type is unclear, but we know that pink watermelon offers multiple health benefits.
With only 46 calories in a cup, watermelon is a great weight-loss food, and it provides a fifth of the daily recommendation for vitamin C and 17 percent of vitamin A. It also includes potassium — which can help keep blood pressure in the healthy range — along with digestion-boosting fiber.
You may have heard that tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, but guess what? Watermelon has even more: 6 milligrams versus 4 milligrams in a cup of tomatoes. To preserve as many antioxidants as possible, store your watermelon at normal room temperature before cutting into it.
Research has found that drinking watermelon juice following a workout can help soothe sore muscles and lower heart rate. The effect may be attributable to a substance called citrulline, which scientists believe can reduce blood pressure and improve the function of arteries. Most of the citrulline is in the rind rather than in the flesh; when you cut your melon, consider saving the rind and pickling it for later.
As the name suggests, watermelon also contains plenty of water — more than 91 percent, to be precise. It’s the perfect food for staying hydrated in the summer heat.
Delightful Watermelon Dishes
We think the very best way to eat watermelon is to simply slice it up and dig in. But if you want to get a little more creative, the sky’s the limit for delicious recipes featuring watermelon. Here are a few of our favorites:
This summer spinach salad features watermelon along with avocado for a dose of healthy fat, and it includes balsamic vinegar to complement the sweetness.
If you’re headed to a picnic, a fresh watermelon and fruit salad is the perfect take-along to keep cool. This one features a colorful assortment of fruits including berries, melon and pineapple.
Few beverages can quench your thirst on a steamy day better than a watermelon smoothie. Lemon sherbet gives this one a tart kick.
Whether you prefer including it in a recipe or eating it by the slab, watermelon is a versatile, healthy and delicious summer food. For more delectable dining options and an active retirement lifestyle, consider The Cypress of Charlotte. To schedule your visit, please contact us.