Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a tropical fruit, it belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae. It is a flowering plant which originates from South Africa. Itis a special kind of fruit referred by botanists as a pepo; a berry that has a thick rind (exocarp), flesh mesocarp and endocarp. Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered as a type of melon although not in the genus. Cucumis has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes pale green) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, red and sometimes green if not ripe).
Watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin C. Watermelon rinds, usually a light green or pale green color, are also edible and contain many hidden nutrients, but most people avoid eating them due to their unappealing flavor. They are sometimes used as a vegetable.
In China, they are stir-fried, stewed or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the de-skinned and de-fruited rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, Scallions, Sugar and rum. Pickled watermelon rind is also commonly consumed in the Southern US. Watermelon juice can also be made into wine (National watermelon Promotion Board Jul. 17, 2005).
FACTS ON WATERMELON:
- The watermelon has been cultivated for thousands of years, with evidence stretching back to the Ancient Egyptians.
- Over 90 percent of a watermelon is water.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), China is the top producer of watermelon with 79.2 million tonnes in a year.
- Watermelon is thought to aid conditions including asthma, cancer and inflammation.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATERMELON
Watermelon is actually a nutrient dense food. It provides high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and just a small number of calories.
Watermelon has a lot of benefits, some of the benefits are discussed below:
- Asthma prevention: The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables, including watermelon.
- Blood pressure: A study published by the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extract supplementation improved the health of the circulatory system in obese middle-aged adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension.
- Cancer: As an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, watermelon can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in several studies.
- Digestion and regularity: Watermelon, because of its water and fiber content, helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
- Hydration: Watermelon is made up of 92 percent of water and full of important electrolytes, it is a great snack to have on hand during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration. It can also be frozen in slices for a tasty cold Popsicle-style snack.
- Inflammation: Choline which is found in watermelon is a very important and versatile nutrient; it aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.
- Muscle soreness: Watermelon juice helps to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes. Researchers believe this is likely due to the amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon.
- Skin: Watermelon is great for the skin because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production, which keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all body tissues, including skin and hair. Adequate intake of vitamin C is also needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. Additionally, watermelon contributes to overall hydration, which is vital for healthy looking skin and hair.
- Watermelon decreases the risk of obesity, mortality, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Watermelon helps to boost energy level.
However, too much consumption of watermelon could create problem for the body such as;
- Intestinal Disturbance: Consuming watermelon in large quantities may lead to nausea, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion and gas. These symptoms can be worse among older people, as the digestive system tends to weaken with age.
- Cardiovascular Disorders: Watermelons contain high level of potassium. Consuming potassium enriched food in large quantities can lead to cardiovascular problems. Some of the diseases are absent or weak pulse, irregular heartbeats, cardiac arrest, etc. It may also affect the motor control and nervous system of the body.
- Fall in The Blood Pressure Level: Excessive consumption of watermelon can lead to a dip in the bodys blood pressure level. If a person suffers from low blood pressure, it is best to avoid watermelon in all its form.
- Allergic Reactions: Consuming excess watermelon can also cause allergic reactions in some people. These are severe or mild rashes, anaphylaxis and facial swelling. People who are allergic to carrots, latex and cucumber, can easily develop allergic reactions to watermelon.
- Nerves and Muscles problems: People, who consume watermelon in large quantities, develop nerve, muscle and kidney problems.
- Impotence in men: Eating too much watermelon can cause impotence and erectile dysfunction in men.
- Irregular Heartbeat: Watermelon is rich in potassium, a mineral that controls your heart rate. One wedge has roughly 320 mg of potassium. And while this is far from the recommended daily intake of 4,700 mg, it can accumulate if you eat too many.
- Liver Inflammation: Alcoholics should avoid eating too much watermelon. High levels of lycopene will interact with alcohol, causing liver inflammation. This effect can be dangerous, especially since the liver is already stressed out.
- High Glucose Level: If you are diabetic, you might be wondering about the effect watermelon has on blood sugar. It does have a high glycemic index of 72, but its glycemic load
HOW TO MAKE WATERMELON SALSA
You Will Need
- 3 cups finely chopped watermelon
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Take a big bowl and add watermelon, cucumber, mango, onion, basil leaves and lime zest to it. Toss them well.
- Now pour in lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Your salsa is ready. Serve this tasty treat with nachos or chips.