Wild About Watermelon: Recipes & Top Health Benefits

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(Baptist Health) – From hydration to better workout performance, the benefits of this fruit are very diverse. On National Watermelon Day, let’s see some of the healthy benefits of eating this fruit, helpful tips on how to pick the sweetest, recommendations to store it and two delicious recipe ideas to include in your daily diet.

1. Nutrients and Health Benefits of Watermelon

As its name implies, watermelon is one of the fruits highly composed of water–they’re 92% water, to be exact! Whether you try red, yellow, or orange flesh types, there are more than 1,200 different varieties and shapes, and the good thing is that every part of the watermelon can be eaten, including the seeds and rinds.

The watermelon red hue is from an important antioxidant called lycopene that can protect you from diseases and help you to relieve some symptoms. Known for their different nutrients and plant compounds, including this fruit in your diet will give your immune system a boost.2 cups of watermelon only has 80 calories, 0g fat, is 92% water, and contains:

  • 25% of adults’ daily vitamin C
  • 8% of adults’ daily vitamin A
  • 8% daily thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • 6% daily pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • 6% daily potassium
  • 6% daily magnesium
  • 2% daily phosphorus

If you are interested in learning more about this fruit, here are some of its beneficial nutrients:

NutrientsHealth Benefits
Beta-CaroteneProtects skin from sunburn
Vitamin ACreates and repairs skin cells
Thiamin B-1Energy production
Phosphorus B-9Manages body’s energy usage and storage
Vitamin CPrevents cell damage from free radicals
MagnesiumSupports nerve function and aids your heart
Calcium Contributes to bone health
CholineReduces chronic inflammation
PotassiumHelp brain function and muscle function
Folate Makes red and white blood cells and production of DNA and RNA
LycopeneImproves cholesterol levels, keeps arteries flexible, reducing high blood pressure
Phytosterols Helps managing LDL cholesterol
Fiber Promote digestive health
L-citrullineImproves athletic performance
Lutein & ZeaxanthinProtects eyes from UV rays

For more information about the FDA nutrition facts of watermelons click here

2. How To Pick A Ripe Watermelon

Picking the right watermelon shouldn’t be hard! The following tips and tricks will help you to make your selection the juiciest for the next time you go to your grocery store.

Look for the following external indicators:

  • Size and shape. Even though watermelon shapes and sizes may vary, you should choose the one that is heavy for its size and symmetrical. Uniform size and heavy melons are the sweetest. In comparison, the elongated shaped watermelons are waterier.
  • Skin, stem and webbings. Another characteristic you can look for when the watermelon is ready is in its skin. A yellow-orange patch on the underside means it is full of flavor. If the spot is white, then it is not ready and it will be tasteless! Webbing is also a good thing to consider. Webbings: Smaller webbings on watermelons indicate it’s just bland but larger webbings are typically a sign of sweetness. Tail or stem: A tail or stem can also indicate if it’s the right choice. Pick one with a brown stem and avoid the green stems.
  • Hollow sound. Hear what they sound like. Tap the bottom part of the watermelon a-hollow sound will mean it’s ready.

3. How To Store Whole And Cut Watermelons

Here are some helpful tips to make your favorite fruit last longer and to store it properly to preserve it.

  • Uncut watermelon: You can keep a whole watermelon for 7-10 days at room temperature if you don’t plan to eat it right away. Make sure to keep it away from other fruit to prevent this fruit from ripening.
  • Cut watermelons: A halved watermelon with its seeds can be covered tightly with a plastic wrap. The plastic will prevent the fruit from absorbing other food flavors and going bad. If you decide to not use plastic, you can also slice it and place it in a covered container for up to 5 days.
  • Long-term storage: If you would like to preserve it for more time, put it in the freezer. Cut only the pink part in cubes of approx. 2 in., and place the cubes on a cookie sheet. Doing this will prevent the pieces from sticking together because of the fruit water. Once the pieces freeze, store them in a container.

Here are more tips on how to store fruit properly and avoid spoil

4. Watermelon Summer Recipes:

Some people opt to just eat the flesh, other people even like the rind or the seeds. You can enjoy this fruit in so many different ways! Whether it is on a salad or on a blended smoothie, here are two recipes to try this summer.

Watermelon Slushy

Makes 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of cubed, seedless watermelon
  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Place the watermelon and ice into a blender.
Pour in lime juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Yield–4 Servings

Ingredients:
¼ extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp. kosher salt
3 c. cubed seedless watermelon
1 c. medium cucumber chopped
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
½ c. red onion, thinly sliced
½ coarsely chopped mint
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, substitute with lime juice.

In a bowl whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese, red onion, and mint.
Pour over dressing.

Recipe from Delish

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