Need something refreshing on these hot summer days? Grab a piece of watermelon. Watermelon is about 93% water and tastes delicious. Want a tasty beverage? Add some watermelon chunks to your glass of cold water.
Not only is watermelon refreshing, it contains Lycopene, a red pigment and phytonutrient. Lycopene has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes. Watermelon is low in calories, only 80 calories for 2 cups of diced watermelon. It contains no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
Watermelon is a good source of Vitamins A, B6 and C. Vitamin A helps with eye health and boosts your immunity. Vitamin B6 is needed to help the immune system produce antibodies. Vitamin B6 also is needed for red blood cell formation and maintaining normal nerve function. Vitamin C helps your immune system to fight against infections and reduce the effects of harmful free radicals. Watermelon contains some potassium and a small amount of fiber.
Selecting a watermelon:
• Look for a firm, heavy melon.
• Choose one with well-rounded ends and smooth surface, without bruises, cuts or dents.
• Look for a yellow spot on the underside of the melon instead of white or pale green.
• Scratch the rind surface with your thumbnail. If the outer layer slides back easily so you can see the green-white under the rind, the watermelon in ripe. If all you see is a darker depressed line the watermelon is not ripe.
Preparing your watermelon:
• Wash the outside of the melon with clean, running water scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt.
Add watermelon to smoothies, salads, and salsas. Make watermelon cookies with your children. Slice watermelon into one-inch slices. Press a cookie cutter into the melon and cut out a cookie. Use vanilla Greek yogurt to ice your melon cookie and top with sprinkles or chocolate chips. Enjoy! Children love them.