Latin Name: Citrullus lanatus
What is a Watermelon?
Nothing quite says summer like a wedge of juicy watermelon. The vine-growing watermelon comes with or without seeds and features a pulp ranging in color from red to orange, yellow, or white, and weighing anywhere from less than one pound to 200 pounds.
The watermelon can be traced back to Southern Africa, and its seeds were used in the tomb of Egyptian Pharoh Tutankhamen over three millennia ago. Today there are over twelve hundred varieties of watermelon, cultivated all over the world wherever temperature can stay in the relative range of 65 to 80 degrees F° for a three-month period.
Although most people only eat the meat of the fruit, there are nutrients in both the green- hued inner lining of the rind and in the rind itself. Pickled rind is a favorite in the Southern United States and China, where rind can also be found in stews and stir-fries.
What are the health benefits of Watermelon?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, watermelons are cooling in nature. They are used to detoxify the body, treat bloody dysentery, promote urination, and treat edema, heal sores, moisten dry mouth, quench thirst, and relieve the irritability caused by summer heat.
Watermelon’s rich content of vitamins A and C, two very powerful antioxidants, prevents the oxidation of cells, cholesterol, and plaque buildup, promoting heart health and addressing a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma. Watermelon’s antioxidants and carotenoids have also been found to protect against macular degeneration.
Any variety of watermelon that is pink or red has a high content of the phytonutrient lycopene. Lycopene protects the body against prostate, lung, colorectal, liver, endometrial, breast, and pancreatic cancers. Lycopene is so broadly beneficial because, among other functions, it protects the genetic material of white blood cells, which are responsible for protecting the body from infectious diseases.
The vitamin B6 that is abundant in watermelon has been found to promote the protein synthesis needed for the body’s healing, mood, and energy stability. Additionally, watermelon contains citrulline, which synthesizes the amino acid arginine and leads to reduced blood pressure, increased blood flow, and balanced blood sugar levels.
Where can I find Watermelon?
Watermelon can be found in most grocery stores and many outdoor markets, especially when they are in season in the summer.
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