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Watermelon Juice, The Thirst-Quencher
Probably no other fruit fits summer as good as watermelon! This delicate, crunchy, thirst-quenching fruit is very popular not only because of its delicious refreshing taste but also because of its high nutritional profile.
Watermelons belong to Cucurbitaceae family, together with squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other fruits that grow on vines on the ground. Watermelons are scientifically known as Citrullis lanatus. Their shapes vary from round, oblong to spherical. They also have thick green skins that are often covered with stripes.
The Juicy Watermelon
The name itself suggests how it taste and how juicy it is. Watermelon flesh is often pink to dark red but some varieties feature orange, yellow, or white flesh. Often their seeds are tiny black, brown, white, green or yellow but a few types are actually seedless which make them ideal for juicing and are easier to eat.
Season for Watermelons
Although watermelons are available throughout the year in supermarkets due to popularity, summer is the peak season for watermelons. This is the time when they are the sweetest and of best quality.
Watermelon’s Mediterranean Origin
Although watermelons are native in Africa, they were first cultivated in Egypt and other countries in Mediterranean Region. In fact, testaments to watermelons legacy were recorded in hieroglyphics which were carved into various buildings walls.
The fruit was held in high regard and was even placed in the tombs of Egyptian Kings. People in Egypt and in Mediterranean countries depend upon watermelon for its high water content since scarcity of water was a common problem in these countries.
Watermelons were soon brought and introduced to other countries like China (in the 10th century) and to Western countries. Today, the leading commercial cultivators of watermelons include Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and the United States.
How to Choose The Best Fresh and Ripe Watermelon for Juicing or Eating
There is a technique in choosing the best quality watermelon either for juicing or for raw consumption. If you’re planning to buy sliced watermelon then finding a ripe watermelon is quite easy. Look for ones that have a deep colored flesh, without white streaks, and with dark seeds.
However, purchasing whole uncut fruit is more common and this time another technique is used to identify freshness and ripeness. When choosing a whole watermelon, pick the one which is heavy with a relatively smooth rind that’s not too shiny nor too dull. It is also important that one side of the watermelon is more distinct in color from the rest of the rind, featuring a yellowish or creamy tone which suggests this is the underbelly – the area that was resting in the ground during ripening. This marking suggests that the watermelon was fully ripe when harvested.
Then there is also the knock on watermelon test. If you knock on a watermelon as you would on the door the sound is different when the watermelon is fully ripe and when it’s still white inside. Fully ripe watermelon gives more sound – like it is hollow. Recognizing ripeness by the sound does require some practice though :).
Watermelons Exceptional Health Benefits
Rich in Potent Antioxidants
Some of the most important antioxidants in nature can actually be obtained from watermelons. The potent vitamins A & C are concentrated in high amounts in this fruit.
Watermelon also contains beta carotene, another potent antioxidant. The individualized and combined effects of these antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, the molecules that can cause damage to our body cells. These antioxidants found in watermelon prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, preventing it from sticking to arterial walls which may lead to heart attack. They also reduce inflammation in conditions like asthma and Arthritis. Several studies have shown that vitamin C and beta carotene reduce our risks in developing heart diseases and colon cancer.
Rich in the Anti-cancer Lycopene
Lycopene is a known phytonutrient abundant in tomatoes. It has antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. There were quite a few studies that have shown that lycopene protects us against a growing list of cancers which now include prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colo-rectal cancers.
Prevents Prostate Cancer along with Green Tea
According to a reliable research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking tea and eating lycopene-rich foods such as watermelons on a regular basis may greatly reduce a man’s risks to develop prostate cancer.
The research has shown a significant 82% reduced risk of prostate cancer to men who constantly consume lycopene-rich foods, and an 86 % reduced risk to those men drinking green tea. The combined effects of green tea and watermelon are stronger in protecting men from prostate cancer.
Protects Against Macular Degeneration
Watermelon is also important in keeping your eyesight healthy. Its vitamins A, C and E, as well as its high carotenoid content are the antioxidants found in both fruits and vegetables which are responsible for maintaining normal vision as we age.
Studies have also shown that regular intake of at least 3 servings of fruit daily may greatly reduce our risks to develop age-related Macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss of older adults.
Prevents Erectile Dysfunction
Another reason why you should enjoy watermelons is because this yummy refreshing fruit contains high amounts of citrulline, an amino acid used to synthesize another essential amino acid called arginine. Arginine helps remove urea from the body in the urea cycle and is used by the cells lining our blood vessels to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide lowers our blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, it also prevents erectile dysfunction. Arginine has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity so it’s good for people with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. An actual study was conducted that showed an 18% increase in arginine levels in people drinking six 8-ounce watermelon juice daily for 3 weeks.
Refreshing Watermelon Juice Recipe- Quick and Easy!
For a fizzy, refreshing summer day, grab a watermelon, follow this recipe and experience a full-blast of refreshment and nutritional goodness!
- ¼ watermelon or 2 cups of watermelon chunks (seedless is better)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon pepper powder
- A pinch of salt
- 3-4 ice cubes
- Slice watermelon into small chunks and remove seeds with a fork.
- Take out your blender and pour in peeled, deseeded watermelon chunks. Add powdered sugar, milk, pepper powder and salt.
- Blend for a few minutes until smooth and well-blended.
- Pour watermelon juice into a tall glass and add ice cubes for a more refreshing drink
- Serve cold and enjoy!
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