Who would have thought the common watermelon is a berry? Botanists call its fruit a pepo, a special kind of berry with a thick rind and fleshy center.
Like other berries we love, the watermelon is packed with goodness. It has the most nutrition per calorie of any common food.
Red is the give-away. Bright colors signal a big pay-off in lycopene, an antioxidant repeatedly studied in humans and found to protect against a whole slew of cancers… prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and colorectal, for starters.
Watermelon offers lots of beta-carotene and another antioxidant, vitamin C. Besides helping lycopene to ward off cancer, these vitamins also battle heart disease, arthritis, and asthma.
A surprise benefit is the mood vitamins, B1 (thiamine) and B6 (pyridoxine). Thiamine is important for maintaining electrolytes and transmissions of nervous-system signals throughout the body. Pyridoxine works with enzymes that convert food into cellular energy. Let’s party!
Then there is the mineral potassium, guardian of our cardiovascular system, brain, and kidneys.
Finally, watermelon provides lots of the master mineral Magnesium. Magnesium is the big boss for over 300 cellular metabolic functions. Poor soils make it scarce in today’s foods. Lack of Magnesium is related to most of our population’s poor health. Symptoms are irritability, tension, sleep disorders, and muscular cramping. After that, it’s heart attacks and other serious illnesses.
Watermelon is in season now, during the summer, so eat lots! It’s among the cleanest 15 commercial agribusiness fruits and vegetables available, so no worries about pesticide contamination.
Watermelons retain most of their nutrition after being cut and stored in the fridge. But pull the pieces out long enough for them to reach room temperature. This maximizes the phytonutrient capacity.
How to enjoy watermelon
Eat plain: Just quarter a large watermelon berry and slice off slabs. Eat the flesh right off the rind and spit out the seeds.
Use in a salad: Chop the flesh into bite-sized chunks and use them to top a plateful of greens. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and nut oil. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
Make a summer cocktail: Here’s a recipe I’ve been loving these days, modified from Peri’s Spice Ladle.
Vinny’s pink watermelon fizz
- 2 cups watermelon cubes, frozen
- 4 ice cubes
- Juice of one fresh lemon (1/4 cup)
- Juice of one fresh lime (2 tablespoons)
- 2-4 tablespoons of any sugar syrup you have. I used home-made red-current couli, But any fruit syrup, even grenadine (from pomegranates) or maple syrup, will do.
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 pinches of black pepper
- 3-4 ounces raspberry vodka (optional)
- ¼ to 1/3 cup club soda, depending on whether you add alcohol or not and the size of your glass
- Blend the whole works except for the club soda for a few seconds.
- If you want to serve some of the cocktails without alcohol, leave the vodka out and add it back to the glasses of the folks who want it.
- Fill each glass about halfway with the watermelon fizz. Add 1 ounce alcohol to each glass if you didn’t include it in the mix. Top up with club soda. Adjust flavor with more lemon juice if needed.
- Spoon some of the pink foam into each glass and top with a raspberry or a mint leaf to garnish.
Natural News – Watermelon nutrition
Celiac Kitchen – Check this out for an amazing watermelon “cake” recipe