Most of us automatically assume that a watermelon is a fruit, but technically it is counted as a vegetable (The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill on 17 April 2007 declaring watermelon as the official state vegetable, with some controversy surrounding whether a watermelon is a fruit.). It is related to the cucumber, squash and pumpkin plants. The watermelon is classified as Citrullus Lanatu. Regardless of whether the watermelon is a fruit or vegetable, it is known to be very healthy.
Adding watermelon to your diet is now recommended by the American Heart Association because of the healthy amounts of lycopene that are a natural part of this vegetable. Lycopene is proven to help reduce the risk of prostrate cancer in men. It is also healthy because it is low in sodium and fat free.
Watermelon is a very low calorie veggie, (disguised as a fruit), and is also full of vitamins such as vitamin A, C and B6. A full cup serving of watermelon only contains around forty calories and is almost entirely made up of water. The benefits of the vitamins in watermelon help the eyes and can also boost the infection fighting white blood cells in the body. Eating watermelon can alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety because of the vitamin B6 it contains. Vitamin B6 produces dopamine and serotonin which have a calming effect on the body. The Vitamin C that is naturally in watermelon provides a good source of infection fighting free radicals, which can slow the aging process and lessen the chance of developing cataracts in the eyes.
There are over twelve hundred different varieties of watermelons. This vegetable ranges in sizes from quite small to very large, with some weighing as much as two hundred pounds. The meat or flesh of the watermelon also comes in a wide variety of colors and textures. Some of them include red fleshed varieties, yellow, orange or white.
Choosing good fruit is important for taste. A truly fresh watermelon will have a smooth exterior with no cracks. Because they are made up of approximately ninety percent water, they should feel very heavy. A farm raised watermelon will have a yellowish tint to the underside from where it was ripened in the sun in the field.
Watermelon can be eaten by itself or made into tasty juice drinks. Organic watermelons are especially nutritious as they are grown with no chemicals or pesticides. Fresh fruit salads almost always contain watermelon. Although not normally consumed by most, the rind of the watermelon is eatable. Many Chinese dishes use the rind for stir fry recipes. The watermelon rind is a good source of vitamins and nutrients as well as the flesh of the inside of the melon. Pickled watermelon rinds are also very popular in some areas. The juice from this tasty vegetable can be used for a nutrition drink and can also be made into wine.
Photo by Still Burning