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Introduction:

  • Watermelon is a fruit which hardly is not liked by anyone.
  • It is a sweet, refreshing, low calorie fruit which is a common snack in summer.
  • Its botanical name is Citrullus Lanatus It belongs to the same family of the Cucurbitaceae which has cantaloupe, honeydew, and cucumber.
  • It has great hydration capacity and has essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Watermelons have almost 92% water. Its juicy profile has combination of Vitamins A, B6, C, Lycopene, antioxidants, and other amino acids.
  • Antioxidants help in damage prevention and cancer. Amino acids are the basis of protein building.
  • Lycopene is a naturally occurring phytonutrient in fruits and vegetables which also imparts natural red colour to tomatoes, watermelon, guava etc.
  • It is beneficial in heart health, bone health, prevention of prostate cancer. It is also a good source of citrulline. It is a amino acid that converts to arginine which promotes blood flow leading to heart health and improves circulation.

To get high amount of lycopene the fruit eaten should be ripened.

There are different types of watermelon like seeded, seedless, mini, yellow, and orange.

History:

  • Originated in West Africa and found in the wild regions.
  • In the Nile valley cultivations were found in 2000 BC.
  • By 7th century it was started been cultivated in India.
  • By 10th century it was started been cultivated in China.
  • It began to be planted in Europe in 17th
  • Captain James Cook introduced watermelons in Pacific Islands.
  • For black people it became the symbol of freedom as it was one of their first invention in food.

How to pick a perfect watermelon:

Few things to keep in mind are –

  • Consume the fruit in its specific season that is during summers specially from May to August.
  • Consume the ripened fruit not the semi ripened one. If it is not properly ripened it is not proper sweet and the flesh will become soft and bit soggy and will not have so much flavour and taste. We can check this by seeing the stem. If the stem is small and brown it is better. But if the stem is green, it means the fruit is not fully ripened.
  • The tiger striped pattern with dark green stripes to be specific are better.
  • It should be heavy and large, if its light then it means that it has started to become dry and less juicy.

Nutrition:

1 cup watermelon contains:

Macronutrients:

  • Negligible amount of fat around 0.2 gm having zero saturated fat and trans-fat.
  • Low amount of carbohydrates about 11.6 gm including 0.6 gm fibre and 9.5 gm natural sugars.
  • Extremely low amount of Protein about 1 gm.
  • Low in calories about 46 Kcal.

Micronutrients:

  • Vitamin C about 14% of Daily Value (DV)
  • Also a source of many vitamins and minerals – Vitamin A (5% DV), Potassium (4% DV), Magnesium (4% DV), Calcium ( 1% DV), Iron (2% DV), Copper (7% DV), Manganese (3% DV), Zinc (1% DV).

Comparison of Red and Yellow Watermelon:

Health Benefits:

  • Due to its high-water content, it has extremely high hydration power.
  • Helps to support immunity.
  • Aids in maintaining heart health.
  • Nutrient dense having vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and other antioxidants.
  • Boosts Brain power because of presence of Vitamin B6.
  • Contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes which helps in improving immune system.
  • Good for eyes because of Vitamin A.
  • Helps to reduce muscle soreness and acts as a great drink after workouts. It has citrulline which helps to improve artery function and reduction in blood pressure.
  • Because of low calorie and high-water content, it helps in weight loss.
  • Lycopene present also protects from UV rays.
  • Good for skin and hair.

Side effects of Overeating Watermelons:

  • Too much of lycopene consumption at a time can result in nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, indigestion, and gas formation.
  • Potassium has many health benefits when consumed in appropriate dose. But if consumed more it leads to weak pulse, irregular heartbeats cardiac arrest etc. It can also affect the nervous function.
  • The glycaemic of watermelon is 3.6 since it is low it will not cause a sudden spike in blood glucose level. So, it is neither good nor bad for diabetes.
  • Since watermelon lowers blood pressure so they are not recommended for person having blood pressure as it may lead to hypertension which will result to light-headedness, dizziness, fainting etc.
  • Not recommended for pregnant women’s as it may give rise to gestational diabetes due to natural sugar present.
  • Having high water content if consumed more then it will increase the water quantity in the body. If it is not excreted properly then will lead to increase in volume of blood and will finally result in swelling of legs. Excess water is also not good for kidneys as it will create pressure in kidneys. And there are also chances of loosing important salts and minerals from the body.

Applications:

  • Refreshing juice and electrolyte drink.
  • Salad
  • Roasted Seeds – can be used as a snack which is a good source of protein. It provides 8gm of protein in about 28gm seeds.
  • Smoothies – can be mixed with tangy juice and is a good source of fibre. It is easy to absorb the sugar.

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • Wash thoroughly in clean water.
  • Use sharp and clean knife.
  • It can be stored uncut at room temperature for about 7 days. But ideally it should not be kept uncut for so long.
  • Watermelon slices can be kept fresh in the refrigerator at 6-8 degree C for 3-4 days in a plastic container or plastic wrap so that there is no ice layer or hard layer formed above.
  • It should not be kept in deep fridge as it has 92% water, so it will freeze.

Myths:

  • Eating watermelon seeds safe or not

Yes, it is totally safe. It does not cause any health issue or any type of stomach issue. On a lighter note, it will not grow in your stomach.

  • Is it safe to have a watermelon diet?

Yes, it may help to lose weight as compared to dense calorie foods. It is recommended to add watermelon in the balanced diets along with other nutrient dense foods.

 

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