Food – Watermelon

What is the perfect treat to beat the summer’s heat? Cold, crisp, juicy, refeshing, hydrating, thirst-quenching watermelon is the right choice for hot summer days. It is rightly named as watermelon is rich in water, about 92%, and low in sugar, about 6%, making it excellent for maintaining good hydration and restoring important electrolytes. Also containing essential rehydration salts, it helps hydrate the body and skin, reducing to a great extent the chance of dehydration. Bring it along on picnics, beach visits and other outdoor activities. Use this gift of nature to help supplement your daily water requirement to stay well hydrated, taming summer thirst.

Despite the fact that watermelon is made up of mostly water, it is considered a nutrient-dense food, providing high amounts of vitamins, amino acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, licopene, with modest amounts of potassium and fiber and low amounts of sodium and fat.

“Watermelon is an excellent fruit that effectively hydrates, detoxifies, and cleanses the entire body. It is rich in vitamins A and C as well as lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are excellent for providing protection from lung, mouth, pancreatic, breast, prostate, endometrial, and colon cancer.

“It is known to significantly reduce inflammation, help flush out edema, aid in weight loss, and alleviate depression. Watermelon can also boost the immune system as well as strengthen vision. …

“Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants that have the ability to neutralize free radical molecules and aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses.”

Watermelon is believed to have originated in Africa and been brought to America across the Atlantic Ocean by African slaves where it spread to the rest of the tropical and subtropical regions. The slave trade was a major means in transporting watermelon to the U.S. Slaves would plant watermelon seeds in the cotton fields so they could enjoy them during the hot months of July and August. European colonists who settled in the Americas also brought with them watermelon seeds and by 1862, watermelons were widely grown throughout Massachusetts.

Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide in 96 countries. Over 300 types of watermelons are grown in the U.S. Watermelon producers in America anually grow more than 4 billion pounds of the delicious fruit. They come in various sizes and colors of red, pink, yellow, orange, white or even green flesh. Japanese producers grow square watermelon. Square glass boxes are placed around a growing fruit so as it grows it becomes square. They are conveniently small and do not roll around like their “normal” counterparts, but can cost from $80 to $125.

While most people enjoy the sweet flesh, watermelons can also be made into juice, added to smoothies or made into pops and sorbets. Instead of throwing away the rind, which contains one of the best sources of blood-building chlorophyll and high organic sodium as well as other health promoting nutrients, blend with a little lime for a healthy refreshing drink. The seeds can also be eaten, providing small but helpful amounts of protein, iron, and zinc.


Three Melon Salad
½ watermelon, cubed 3 Tbsp. mint leaves, torn
½ cantaloupe, cubed ¼ tsp. grated lime peel
½ honeydew, cubed Juice of 1 lime
Halve melons; scrape out seeds of cantaloupe and honeydew. Cut melon halves into slices and cube, cutting away rinds. Place fruit in serving bowl. Add mint leaves and lime; stir to combine. Serve chilled.