Monday, July 4, 2011

Watermelons are Worth their Weight in Nutrients

What could be more refreshing in the dog days of summer than a perfectly ripe and juicy watermelon? You've waited all summer for them to finally taste just right, and it's time to take advantage of all they have to offer, including the summer memories you will make and those that have passed while enjoying them!

The unmistakable red colour of watermelons, dotted by their black seeds, is there thanks to the potent antioxidant lycopene. If you've been doing your homework, you might recall that lycopene is also what makes tomatoes red and so amazingly healthy for us, especially for men. That's because lycopene is a touted cancer-fighter, especially when it comes to prostate cancer. Lycopene is also a super hero when it comes to oxidizing cholesterol and stifling inflammation, which can help ease or prevent the symptoms related to conditions like heart disease, stroke, arthritis and asthma. Watermelons also come packed with vitamins A and C, and some B's and as with other fruits and veggies, they're fat, sodium and cholesterol free. In addition to being super-low in calories, those B vitamins can help kick up a lagging metabolism to more efficiently burn fat and calories. And you thought they were only delicious!

It's also no coincidence that they're called watermelons; their name says it all. There's a good reason you crave a juicy wedge of this summer sensation on a particularly hot day and that's because it is a potent thirst-quencher, jam packed (92%!) with hydrating and refreshing water. That's great for everyone, but especially kids and the elderly who don't have as strong of a sense of thirst and may become dehydrated more easily. Also, recent research has shown that the combination of lycopene, found in watermelons, with green tea results in a efficient prostate cancer-fighting partnership.

This summer, why not try shaking up the way you enjoy your watermelon. There's absolutely not a thing wrong with the original, classic wedge, but if you like trying new recipes, why not slap some on the barbie next time you fire it up? Pair it fresh with some feta and you're in full-on summer relaxation mode!