Don’t you just love the summer time. Sitting around outside on the patio getting all juicy, spitting and having fun with the neighbors, family and friends. What…! No, I’m not talking about chewing tobacco. I’m referring to the delicious and scrumptious, taste bud explosion you get when you eat a watermelon.
Seriously though, if you love to eat watermelons, as most of Americans do, then I have gathered up some interesting facts for you.
Watermelons are a big hit with Americans and we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Nutritionists have known the health benefits you get from watermelons for a long time. The most important fact about the watermelon is that it’s fat free and low in calories and therefore considered to be the ideal diet food. Watermelon is 8 percent natural sugar and 92 percent water, contains vitamins A, B6 and C and also has fibre and potassium.
It’s estimated that farmers produce roughly 77.5 million tons of watermelon globally each year and is grown in over 96 countries worldwide. The first record of watermelon was harvested in Egypt nearly 5,000 years ago and the actual word, watermelon, appeared in the English dictionary in 1615. It is said that all parts are edible, even the rind and the seeds. Yuck!
Findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists indicate that watermelon is one of a select few fruits, which contain high levels of Lycopene.
Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitacae and is technically a vegetable. It is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
A quality watermelon should be firm, heavy and evenly shaped. When hit or thumped you should hear a deep tone. Slight yellowing of the underside is acceptable. When the watermelon is cut open, it should have a fresh and firm texture. The seeds, if it’s a seeded type, should be hard and mature looking. You need to stay away from watermelons that are pale green or white. Some scrapes and abrasions are alright, but avoid melons that have lots of bruises, cuts or multiple soft spots.
Watermelons are low in calories and very nutritious. The watermelon is high in lycopene, second only to tomatoes. Recent research suggests that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is effective in preventing some forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, men who consumed a lycopene-rich diet were half as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who had little or no lycopene in their diets.