Watermelon

wm1Watermelon is an excellent fruit that effectively hydrates, detoxifies, and cleanses the entire body on a cellular level.

Watermelons are mostly water, about 92 percent, but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients.

Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. There’s even a modest amount of potassium.

It  is rich in vitamins A and C as well as lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, watermelon is excellent for providing protection from lung, mouth, pancreatic, breast, prostate, endometrial, and colon cancer.

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Lycopene is a phytonutrient, which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables that reacts with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. It is also the red pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas their color.

Lycopene has been linked with heart health, bone health and prostate cancer prevention. It’s also a powerful antioxidant thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, according to Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin.

To really maximize your lycopene intake, get fully ripe watermelon. The redder your watermelon, the higher the concentration of lycopene becomes. Beta-carotene and phenolic antioxidant content also increase as the watermelon ripens.

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Watermelon is also known to significantly reduce inflammation, help flush out edema, aid in weight loss, and alleviate depression.

Watermelon can also boost the immune system as well as strengthen vision.

Watermelon is not nearly as high in sugar as most people think as it has half the sugar than an apple. This quintessential summer snack is fat-free, very low in sodium and has only 40 calories per cup.

Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants that have the ability to neutralize free radical molecules and aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses.

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The watermelon probably originated in the Kalahari Desert in Africa.

Egyptians placed watermelons in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife. The first recorded watermelon harvest is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics from about 5,000 years ago.

Merchants spread the use of watermelons along the Mediterranean Sea. By the 10th century, watermelons had found their way to China, which is now the world’s top producer of watermelons.

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The rind of the watermelon is equally beneficial as it is one of the highest organic sodium foods in nature and one of the best sources of chlorophyll and can be juiced for a delicious and healing drink.

Get a watermelon with black seeds, and crunch those seeds up when you make smoothies or chilled drinks.

The seeds have an amazing effect on the nervous system, aiding in relaxing the body and lowering blood pressure and contain helpful amounts of iron, zinc, and protein.

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On a hot summer’s day nothing is more refreshing and cooling than a glorious piece of watermelon.

During the summer, look for locally grown watermelon at your farmer’s market for the most nutrient dense, healing fruits available. Enjoy, your body will thank you.

Growing

The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

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In warmer climes, you can direct sow seeds outdoors with the soil temperature warms to at least 70 degrees to avoid poor germination.

Watermelon vines are very tender and should not be transplanted until all danger of frost has passed. (To be safe, wait at least two weeks past your last frost date.) If you are in a cooler zone, start seeds indoors about a month before transplanting.

Amend soil with aged manure, seaweed, and/or compost before planting. Watermelons are heavy feeders. Watermelons prefer a soil pH between 6 and 6.8. Watermelons like loamy, well-drained soil.

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Growing the vines in raised rows, known as hills, ensures good drainage and will hold the sun’s heat longer. Space the plants about 2 feet apart in a 5-foot-wide hill.

Watering is very important from planting until fruit begins to form. While melon plants are growing, blooming, and setting fruit, they need 1 to 2 inches of water per week.

Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. Water at the vine’s base in the morning, and try to avoid wetting the leaves and avoid overhead watering. Reduce watering once fruit are growing. Dry weather produces the sweetest melon.

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Vines produce male and female flowers separately on the same plant; often beginning to produce male flowers several weeks before the females appear. Do not be concerned if the male flowers fall off. The female flowers (which have a swollen bulb at the base) will stay on the vine and bear fruit.

Blossoms require pollination to set fruit, so be kind to the bees!

As fruit is ripening, prevent rotting by gently lifting it and putting some cardboard or straw between the fruit and the soil. Watermelons don’t sweeten after they are picked, so harvest time is important.

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How do you tell if watermelons are ripe: Thump it. If the watermelon sounds dense, deep, it’s ripe.

Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.

Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream or yellow colored bottom.

For more information:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/watermelon.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266886.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31

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