Today is National Watermelon Dayand there’s no better time to celebrate this refreshing fruit than now! Watermelon is a great nutrient-packed summertime treat. It’s made up of 92% water so it helps keep you hydrated during those hot summer days, too.
Did you know that watermelons were first found in northeastern Africa, where they grew wild in the warm climate? They were cultivated in Nile Valley in the time of the Egyptians, and the delicious fruit was spread across Europe and later into the Americas. Seedless watermelons, a type of watermelon, were developed by Japanese botanists in the 1930s and now makes up 85% of the total watermelons sold across the globe.
In honor of National Watermelon Day, I’m here to tell you all about this delicious, summertime fruit!
Water, Water, Everywhere!
As I mentioned earlier, watermelon is made up of mostly water – up to 92%! This means it’s a great way to stay hydrated in the summer. Along with the high water content, watermelon also contains plenty of nutrients, like:
- Potassium, which is necessary for water balance inside cells and helps alleviate muscle cramps. It works with sodium to keep your blood pressure normal.
- Vitamin A, which helps keeps eyes and skin healthy.
- Vitamin B6, which helps the immune system function properly and aids in brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
- Vitamin C, which helps boost immunity.
- Lycopene, a type of carotenoid, which is an antioxidant known for its potential role in reducing your risk of heart disease and various cancers. Lycopene is what gives watermelon, as well as tomatoes and pink grapefruit, their red color. Research has shown lycopene may lower triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, thereby lowering your cardiovascular disease risk.
You’re probably used to having watermelon by the slice or as part of a fruit salad, but there are more ways to enjoy it! Here are 4 fun and different ways to eat more watermelon!
- Freeze it! Slice watermelon into cubes and freeze in ice cube trays, or blend the pink flesh into a liquid and pour into Popsicle molds for a frozen treat.
- Cube watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe, drizzle with balsamic glaze, and serve with cured meats such as prosciutto or salami for a salty – sweet appetizer.
- Add watermelon to your salad for a topper. Make a salad base of hearty mixed-greens such as Swiss chard and kale, and top with diced watermelon and bleu cheese, and toss with balsamic vinegar and oil.
- Make watermelon mini-drink cups! Cut your watermelon into large cubes, then hollow out the middles with a melon baller to make a tiny cup. Fill with the adult beverage of your choice and enjoy!
When you’re picking out a watermelon at the grocery store, look for fruit that’s oval and symmetrical. It should have a yellow spot on the underside of the melon – this indicates good sun exposure and ensures a sweet, ripened fruit. Sliced, diced, or cubed, watermelon is a great way to stay hydrated while getting some nutrients as well.
Watermelon is in peak season now until September, so be sure to grab it during your next trip to the grocery store!
Your turn to take action:How will you celebrate National Watermelon Day? Let me know in the comments below!