Watermelon, the refreshing summer fruit, is low in calories but high in vitamins and other compounds. So, why not bring home this powerhouse of goodness and help your family stay healthy
For most of us, the sweltering summer afternoons are synonymous with delicious bites of juicy watermelons. But have you ever wondered about where the first watermelon grew, how it spread worldwide, and its many health benefits?
A 5,000-year-old history
Based on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Hebrew texts, the origin of the watermelon plant can be traced back to about 5,000 years ago in Africa's dry and hot Kalahari desert.
Scientifically, the watermelon is called Citrullus lanatus. However, the debate about the name is still going on. Lanatus means 'hairy' in Latin. As a result, the modern watermelon is often confused with its probable ancestor, the hairy citron melon, which earlier shared the same name.
With time, the varieties of watermelon also increased. They are now available in different shapes and sizes ranging from small round ones to square to large oblong varieties. Moreover, even pink and yellow watermelons are available in many parts of the world. However, the commonly available ones have a dark green rind or outer covering and a red, fleshy, sweet pulp inside.
But, no matter what shape or size, or color it comes in, the benefits of watermelon are many and this makes it a must-eat fruit. Let's look at the nutritional value of this fruit and how it helps you to stay healthy.
Some of the benefits that accrue from consuming watermelons include a healthy heart, hydration of the body, regulation of blood pressure, elimination of free radicals, and good eye health. These benefits are a result of the nutrients present in the different parts of the watermelon.
The rind or outer peel of the watermelon is often tossed into the bin, without a second thought. Most of us don't even know that the rind is not only edible but also a great source of the amino acid, citrulline, which has the following health benefits:-
Now that you know about the multiple benefits of watermelon rind, the next time you get one, try eating the slightly bitter and subtly tangy peel. You can use it as a substitute for cucumber in your salad, turn it into a pickle, blend it into a smoothie or simply eat it with a seasoning of salt and pepper.
While we enjoy eating the red, fleshy pulp, most of us do not like having the black and soft watermelon seeds. However, the seeds are a great source of several nutrients, including:
The luscious red pulp contains over 92 percent water and moderate amounts of vitamins A, B6, and C along with lycopene and amino acids.
Watermelon juice made from its pulp is an excellent coolant for the body and a perfect substitute for artificially sweetened aerated colas. Also, it is very easy to make fresh watermelon juice to soothe yourself on a hot summer day. So, try out the recipe.
Preparation time: 10 mins
On average, 200 grams of watermelon contains about 60 calories. While eating watermelon confers many benefits, we should also remember that 'excess of anything is bad'. So, only the required quantity of watermelon should be consumed. But, what is the required quantity? Do you have any idea?
As there are 60 calories in 200 grams of watermelon juice, that means if you consume 500gm of watermelon, you end up consuming 150 calories. But, what is important to note is that every 100gm serving contains nearly 5-6gm of sugar. So, those who suffer from diabetes should take note of the amount of watermelon they consume.
Also, those having elevated potassium levels shouldn't consume large quantities of watermelon as this may adversely affect cardiovascular function.
Due to its high water content, consuming too much watermelon may cause water intoxication, leading to sodium loss, poorly functioning kidneys, and swelling of the legs. Flatulence, diarrhea, and digestive tract discomfort are some of the other side effects of watermelon over-consumption.
Good watermelon must be luscious, juicy, and ripe. To select the best watermelon, keep in mind the following points:
With all its goodness and health benefits, your family shouldn't miss out on such an amazing, easily available, and affordable summer fruit. Whether you eat the pulp, the rind, or the seeds, you can be sure that you would get some essential nutrients. You can come up with your own watermelon recipes to enjoy this wonder fruit with a twist.
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