I have fond memories of eating watermelon during the summer as a kid. It was always cut into perfect triangles or rectangles with the bright green rind still attached for holding purposes. I would grab it with both of my hands, taking a big juicy bite while carefully spitting out the seeds.
Back then, I never put too much thought into what was good for me and what wasn’t. I just ate what felt right at the time. And during the summer, watermelon just made sense. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so my mother had to work hard to ensure that I was properly fed. She was smart for turning to fruits and vegetables as an affordable source of nourishing food. Well let me tell you, one whole watermelon sure goes a long way between a single mother and her child.
Fresh watermelon is 92% water, making it a fantastic natural hydrator. But that’s not all it contains! It’s high in the phytonutrient Lycopene which is great for heart and bone health. Other sources of Lycopene include tomatoes, pink grapefruit and guava.
Citrulline, an amino acid (the building blocks of protein) is found in watermelons. It is commonly converted to Arginine by the kidneys and other organ systems. Arginine helps with blood flow, thus aiding in your overall cardiovascular health. It can also be used to create a gas molecule called Nitric Oxide which, in this case, acts as a muscle relaxant.
Watermelon also contains antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamin C that are contained throughout different parts of the melon. So next time you’re juicing a watermelon and you think about throwing away the rind, think twice! Chuck it into the juicer along with the yummy red flesh in order to maximize your overall nutrient intake.
Now, this next one might seem a bit strange to some folks. Did you know that the seeds actually contain many nutrients too? They’re full of iron, protein, magnesium and B vitamins – just to name a few. Don’t throw out (or spit out) those seeds next time you’re cracking into that juicy fruit!
Here are a few creative ways that you can use watermelon seeds:
- Pat them dry, lay them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle on some spices like cinnamon or ginger and roast them on low heat. Add them to your trail mix or on top of cereal.
- Dry them or dehydrate them, put them into a pepper grinder and grind them onto salads or vegetables.
- Pat them dry, lay them out on a cookie sheet, add a small amount of olive oil and sea salt and roast them on low heat. Toss them into your salads or vegetable dishes.
- Soak them overnight and blend them in your food processor along with other nuts and seeds making a nut butter or paste.
On June 5th, the National Post published an article naming watermelon drinks as the most popular flavour for blended drinks this summer. Now, these blended drinks don’t always have to contain alcohol. They can be mocktails, smoothies, fresh juices or anything tasty that you can whip together!
Here is a fantastic recipe from the National Watermelon Promotion Board that will increase your antioxidant intake while surely satisfying your thirst!
WATERMELON POMEGRANATE GREEN TEA
The deliciously refreshing and antioxidant-rich combination of watermelon, pomegranate and green tea will help you stay alert, hydrated and refreshed during a hot summer day! It’s easy to prepare and yields six to eight servings – enough to share with friends!
4 cups (1 L) watermelon puree
2 cups (500 mL) pomegranate juice (or white grape juice)
4 cups (1 L) strong prepared and chilled Green tea Ice for serving
Mix ingredients together in a large container and chill. Stir before serving and serve over ice.
Makes about 6-8 servings.
Tip: Add a splash of effervescence like Prosecco, champagne or soda water.
Don’t forget to try one of our very own Do The Daniel signature juices which is chock full of watermelony-goodness (yes I just made that a thing).
Do you love watermelons as much as we do? Join in on the #Watermelon101 Twitter Party with @FoodBloggersCA, @WatermelonBoard & @DinnerWithJulie on June 16th at 6pm PT / 9pm ET. Make sure to RSVP to enter for your chance to win some awesome prize packs! We’ll be there, will you?
Make sure to follow along with the #CatherinesCabinet Instagram account! For more information and helpful tips, make sure to stay up to date with all things Health & Nutrition on my website, Catherine’s Cabinet.
Catherine Sugrue, CNP
Reference Source: World’s Healthiest Foods