What-a-Melon!

What is red and green and white,

And a summer delight?watermelon slices.jpg

Watermelon!

This uncomplicated sweet and juicy fruit has always marked the onset of summer (prelude to the more sensuous, refined flavours of the mango!).

A recent family discussion on whether there was more to this melon than a lovely colour, sugar and water led me to explore. This is what I discovered!

Yes, it is 91.5% water, and thus a great antidote to dehydration; the juice is also full of good electrolytes which can even help prevent heat stroke.

But what else?

Watermelon is great for your health! It not just refreshes, a watermelon…

Is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A, and contains essential minerals like potassium.

Has dietary fibre for digestive health.

Is bursting with lypocene which is considered to be a super antioxidant that prevents damage to cells and immune system.

Contains a natural substance called citrulline that is said to improved artery function and lower blood pressure, as well as protect against muscle pain. Watermelon juice before a gruelling workout may help reduce muscle soreness. But guess where citrulline is concentrated most? In the white flesh near the rind, which also has blood-building chlorophyll! So instead of throwing this away–try putting it in a blender with some lime for a healthy, refreshing treat.

And for something that tastes sinfully good, it is fat-free, and very low in sodium and calories.

Curiously the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) wears a dual hat of being fruit as well as vegetable, belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family which includes cucumber and pumpkin.

It is believed to have originated in the Kalahari desert of South Africa. It may have been carried by seafaring merchants across the world–as far as China which is today said to be the highest producer of watermelons. It is believed that it reached the United States with the slaves from Africa.  Today watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States, where July is celebrated as National Watermelon Month!

And we thought that it was our own special summer delight!

What-a-Melon! Supermelon!

–Mamata

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