By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Today, Aug. 3, is National Watermelon Day here in the United States. We pay homage to this juicy, delicious berry, which is considered a member of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family.
Did you know that . . .
Watermelons are aptly named as they are more than 90% water.
The first documented watermelon harvest reportedly occurred approximately 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
Watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun (Tut).
Worldwide, there are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelons. More than 300 types are grown in the United States.
By weight, watermelon is the most consumed fruit in the United States.
One cup of watermelon contains less than 50 calories.
The flesh of the watermelon can be red, orange, green, yellow, or white.
Watermelons provide a boost to your immune system and help you stay hydrated. They are a good source of fiber and have significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C. They also contain modest amounts of potassium and amino acids.
Watermelons have more lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found to reduce inflammation and the risk of several types of cancer, than any other fruit or vegetable.
Watermelon can help keep your kidneys and liver healthy. It can help with the function of your muscles and nerves. It may improve digestion and the health of your heart.
Watermelon can provide protection from diabetes, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Watermelon is good for your skin and your hair. It can help prevent wrinkles.
Watermelon can reduce the risk of periodontal disease and help protect against age-related macular degeneration.
All of the watermelon can be eaten, including the seeds and the rind.
The seeds of a watermelon are quite nutritious. They contain high levels of zinc, magnesium, and protein. For optimal nutritional benefit, the seeds should be chewed before swallowing.
The rind contains a surprising amount of health benefits. Pickling or juicing are two ways to make the rind more appealing. A few words of caution, however, about the rind. Some people may experience an allergic reaction if they eat a lot of watermelon rind. Eating excessive amounts of the rind can cause digestive problems such as gas, indigestion, or diarrhea. Because our digestive system becomes more sensitive as we age, older adults are advised to avoid eating the rind.
With so many health benefits, watermelon is much more than a refreshing summer treat.