I’m gonna brag somewhat: the Food Revolution Network YouTube channel has some well-liked movies with tens of hundreds of views. They function deep conversations with considerate folks, wholesome recipes, and beneficial and actionable recommendation on how one can dwell a sustainable, scrumptious, and moral life.
Let’s distinction that with the movies that seem once you search YouTube for “drop a watermelon.” The high itemizing, “DROPPING WATERMELON 45FT!!” has been seen practically 17 million occasions, and the channel that produced it has eight million subscribers. Just under it, you possibly can be part of 10 million viewers in watching the identical creator drop a watermelon that was first frozen with liquid nitrogen. And below that, an Australian channel with six million subscribers reveals what occurs once you spray a watermelon with Line-X protecting coating, after which drop it 150 toes.
Clearly, the gravity-induced destruction of watermelons is a vital matter. But regardless of my need to be hip and related, I’m going to depart that topic be, and as a substitute speak about what occurs once you — look forward to it — truly eat watermelon.
Wild About Watermelon
Watermelon is without doubt one of the most beloved fruits just about in every single place on the planet. They have the best world manufacturing of any tropical gourd, exceeding 63 million tonnes, in response to the FAO, with China being the most important producer of watermelons, harvesting over 38 million tonnes yearly.
And for those who wanted any extra proof that Americans aren’t distinctive of their affection for the large and delightful watermelons, it’s best to know that in Japan, you should purchase a cube-shaped luxurious watermelon — grown in a sq. field — at a high-end division retailer for a number of hundred dollars. Popular items, they’re solely for show and harvested earlier than ripening. (Which made me somewhat unhappy; think about how far more effectively we might load our fridges if our favourite produce had been all cubic or rectangular. Plus, they wouldn’t roll round, which might make them simpler to chop. But I digress.)
In the United States, you’re extra more likely to discover watermelons of their pure rectangular or spherical types for lots much less cash. Which is an effective factor since you’re in all probability going to eat yours and wish extra.
The candy taste and distinct juiciness of watermelons make them well-liked fruits. But are watermelons too candy to have well being advantages? I imply, all that sugar! Plus, because the identify says, they’re principally water. Does that imply they lack vitamins?
So, what’s the reality about watermelon? Is watermelon wholesome, or is it simply a big sack of sugar water in a rind? Are there any downsides to consuming it? How else are you able to put together the fruit apart from simply slicing it? And the place do they arrive from?
History of Watermelons
While watermelons are generally considered the “all-American” summer season fruit (no less than, by Americans), they’re truly native to Africa. Archaeological stays of watermelon seeds have been found in northeastern Africa, relationship from roughly 5,000 years in the past.
The oldest archaeological finds of dessert watermelons (sure, that’s ‘dessert,’ as within the candy ending of a meal, not ‘desert’ that’s generally related to a scarcity of water) are from Egypt and Sudan. In a tomb relationship to no less than four,000 years in the past, scientists discovered a picture of a giant, striped, rectangular fruit on a tray, additional suggesting that the enjoyment of watermelons dates again hundreds of years. Sadly, there have been no creative renderings of seed-spitting contests.
The oldest references to watermelons being candy are in codices of Jewish legal guidelines from Israel relationship to the time of the Roman Empire. In truth, the Greek phrase pepon, Latin pepo, and Hebrew avattiah had been all used to explain giant, moist fruits with a thick rind, an outline that completely matches our suspect, the watermelon.
If you shut your eyes and consider watermelon, you’ll in all probability provide you with the basic inexperienced striped rectangular, or the slice of crimson with black seeds and a white/inexperienced rind. That’s the basic dessert watermelon. But there are additionally two further species of the plant. These are the citron (primarily used for preserves and pickles) and the egusi (which is well-liked in West Africa, and grown for its seeds). As for the extra frequent kinds of watermelons, there are much more than you in all probability notice.
Types of Watermelon
Watermelon is a lovely fruit as is, however its variety is really gorgeous. While many watermelon varieties can look related on the skin, their flesh can are available in a rainbow of colours, together with crimson, pink, orange, yellow, and even white. Cutting right into a watermelon can develop into its very personal “species reveal” occasion, with out the explosions.
Watermelon rinds, however, are usually inexperienced, however don’t at all times have stripes. Solid inexperienced rinds or speckled rinds, as is the case with the Moon & Star selection, are additionally attainable. All varieties are available in spherical or rectangular shapes (after they’re not crammed into rising containers for aesthetics).
The three hottest kinds of watermelon loved within the US are :
This is a smaller sort of watermelon, which you’ll normally retailer in your fridge complete. It weighs anyplace from 5-15 kilos. Some well-liked kinds of icebox watermelon embrace Sugar Baby, Cal Sweet Bush, and Garden Baby.
Weighing between 15-50 kilos, the picnic watermelon may be very giant and is finest lower earlier than storing in your fridge, except your fridge inside is the dimensions of a walk-in closet. Some well-liked kinds of picnic watermelon embrace Black Diamond, Crimson Sweet, and Dixie Sweet.
Usually related in measurement to picnic watermelons, seedless sorts are the vast majority of watermelons you’ll discover in grocery shops. Seedless watermelons took place round 50 years in the past. And whereas they don’t comprise mature black seeds, they could comprise some immature and edible white seeds.
While there’s a typical false impression that seedless watermelons are genetically modified, this isn’t the case. They’re truly a sterile hybrid created by cross-pollinating male pollen for watermelon with a feminine watermelon flower. In this sense, seedless watermelons are form of the mule of watermelons, made equally to crossing a horse and donkey. Popular varieties embrace King of Hearts, Millionaire, and Crimson.
Figuring out if watermelon is wholesome or not begins with inspecting its dietary content material. And nutritionally, watermelons comprise a lot of good-for-you compounds.
As their identify suggests, watermelons have a excessive water content material, which helps preserve you hydrated. They’re additionally excessive in nutritional vitamins A and C, potassium, and carotenoids. In explicit, watermelons are excessive within the antioxidant-rich carotenoid lycopene, which provides the flesh its pinkish-red colour. (As a outcome, crimson watermelons are naturally greater in lycopene than yellow or pink ones.)
Watermelons are additionally excessive in pure sugars (about 9.four grams of sugar per cup), in order that they’re excessive on the glycemic index. But as a result of they’re so excessive in water, they nonetheless develop into low on the glycemic load scale. This implies that regardless of their sweetness, they seemingly received’t spike your blood sugar once you eat them.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
The watermelon is mighty in its measurement and form, but additionally in its potential well being advantages. Research has discovered watermelon is a practical meals as a result of its flesh, seeds, sprouts, and leaves are stuffed with compounds which will provide protecting properties to those that eat them.
Some of the highest well being advantages of watermelon embrace:
1. It might enable you drop a few pounds.
Watermelon is wealthy in water and fiber, which assist fill you up once you eat it. These vitamins can cut back urge for food and doubtlessly stop overeating that will in any other case contribute to undesirable weight achieve.
In one research amongst 33 obese or overweight adults, researchers discovered that consuming two cups of watermelon each day for 4 weeks led to a big discount in physique weight, physique mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio. This was in comparison with the results of one other group who consumed isocaloric, (that means, the identical variety of energy because the watermelon) low-fat cookies each day for 4 weeks as a substitute — which led to a rise in physique fats.
2. It might defend towards coronary heart illness.
Watermelon is excessive in compounds which will cut back irritation, provide antioxidant results, and assist enhance lipid profiles. It incorporates the amino acid L-citrulline, which is the precursor of L-arginine, one other important amino acid used for protein synthesis. It’s additionally a wealthy supply of the antioxidant-rich carotenoid lycopene. Both of those compounds might play roles in defending your cardiovascular system.
Additionally, consuming watermelon has been noticed to assist enhance the synthesis of nitric oxide, a colorless fuel that dilates your blood vessels and helps stop blockages.
three. It might have anticancer properties.
Eating loads of naturally antioxidant-rich meals is a method which you could assist your physique higher defend itself towards most cancers.
The L-citrulline content material and nitric oxide boosting results of watermelon would be the motive that watermelon decreases most cancers cell proliferation in some animal research. Watermelon can also regulate the expression of DNA restore enzymes to fight most cancers in mice.
four. It could also be used to assist deal with ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel illness characterised by widespread irritation all through the digestive tract. It’s a danger issue for colorectal most cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis.
Some analysis has discovered that watermelon can assist with UC by rising antioxidant exercise and assuaging irritation.
5. It could also be good to your pores and skin.
The antioxidants in watermelon assist defend your pores and skin from solar injury and combat oxidative stress. Antioxidants, just like the lycopene in watermelon, might assist decrease wrinkles and sluggish different ageing results associated to UV injury.
6. It might assist assist your athletic efficiency.
Watermelon is a pure supply of L-citrulline, which can enhance L-arginine bioavailability and nitric oxide manufacturing that may help in train efficiency. There are a number of research which have discovered success in L-citrulline supplementation for enhancing train efficiency and restoration.
One research amongst 22 athletically skilled males discovered that oral L-citrulline supplementation for seven days considerably elevated plasma L-arginine ranges. It additionally lowered completion time of a four-kilometer bicycle race by 1.5%, in comparison with the placebo group. The athletes additionally reported considerably lowered muscle fatigue following train. Of course, cyclists is not going to race sooner if they’ve to hold the watermelon with them whereas they journey.
Downsides to Eating Watermelon
There are loads of advantages to having fun with watermelon, however there are additionally some potential downsides to contemplate.
The watermelon food plan — like different diets with related single-food names — is a fad food plan supposed for fast weight reduction. In this food plan, you eat nothing however watermelon for 3 days, after which steadily add again extra meals. Not solely is this fashion of consuming unsustainable, it may be harmful.
Such restrictive approaches to weight reduction are usually not really helpful for pregnant ladies, folks with diabetes, or these with impaired immune operate. Watermelon incorporates an array of nutritional vitamins and minerals, however lacks protein and different necessary macronutrients. Overall, watermelon is finest when eaten carefully as a part of an total balanced food plan. It’s by no means a very good wager to depend on one single meals to fulfill all of your dietary wants.
For people seeking to decrease their consumption of FODMAPs, watermelons seemingly fall into the crimson gentle record of meals. FODMAPs, which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, are short-chain sugars that may be poorly absorbed within the intestines.
Watermelons are thought-about a excessive FODMAP meals, as they comprise concentrated quantities of fructose and different oligosaccharides. They could cause digestive issues for folks with present digestive points like irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Though a real watermelon allergy is uncommon, some folks might expertise an allergy-like response to consuming it because of what’s known as oral allergy syndrome. This phenomenon typically coexists with an present ragweed and pollen allergy.
Oral allergy syndrome can happen as a result of the proteins in uncooked watermelon are much like pollen proteins present in frequent allergic vegetation like ragweed. Bodies sometimes get confused, leading to an identical allergic response.
How to Choose and Store Watermelons
For the very best outcomes, it’s useful to understand how to decide on a high quality watermelon, after which retailer it correctly when you get it dwelling.
Watermelons rating comparatively effectively on the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Indeed, they practically made the Clean 15 record, so the selection of whether or not to buy natural or not might come right down to availability, finances, sustainability issues, and private choice.
Choosing a Ripe Watermelon
At the shop, you’ll normally discover complete watermelons organized collectively in a show inside the produce part. They ought to every have a light-weight yellow “field spot,” which signifies the half that was touching the bottom when the watermelon was ripening. If that spot is white as a substitute of yellow, that tells you it was in all probability picked too early, and should not style fairly as ripe and juicy as others.
Your different senses additionally come in useful when selecting a very good watermelon. A ripe melon ought to sound deep, full, and hole once you gently knock on it. On the alternative finish from the stem, the rind must also have some give when pressed along with your fingers. And once you maintain the watermelon, it ought to really feel heavy for its measurement, because of its excessive water content material.
Look for watermelons which might be free from apparent bruises, cuts, or dents, as these can shorten their lifespan. It’s additionally necessary to decide on a measurement that can finest serve your wants and the way rapidly you’ll be capable to eat it, as watermelons can range from pretty small to very, very giant.
The Best Ways to Store Your Watermelon
When you get your watermelon dwelling, retailer the entire uncut fruit on the counter or in a cellar. Keep it separate from different countertop fruits and veggies to forestall untimely ripening from ethylene fuel emitted by different produce like bananas. If you wish to chill it earlier than consuming it, you possibly can put the watermelon within the fridge for lengthy sufficient to get it chilly. But don’t, below any circumstances, give your watermelon a reputation, (even when it does appear to be an enormous head) as it will make it very troublesome so that you can lower it up and eat it later.
Watermelons, of their complete kind, preserve finest at room temperature. Or, even higher, retailer them at round 55°F, the place they’ll preserve for no less than 7-10 days. Once the melon is lower open, transfer it to the fridge in a sealed container, the place it’s good for one more 4 to seven days. Freezing watermelon isn’t really helpful, as this causes the rind to interrupt down and produces a mealy, mushy texture that most individuals don’t get pleasure from.
Creative Ways to Enjoy Watermelon
Watermelon slices are essentially the most conventional solution to get pleasure from this fruit, however there are a number of different methods to benefit from yours.
The watermelon seeds are additionally edible, although the immature white seeds could also be simpler to chew than the mature black ones. Still, watermelon seeds are excessive in minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc. Enjoy watermelon seeds roasted or sprouted at dwelling. You can throw them in your salads for additional crunch, and a few folks even get pleasure from them on their oatmeal.
And earlier than you get involved about issues your dad and mom may need advised you about consuming watermelon seeds, it’s a fantasy that they’ll develop within you. Any gardener will let you know that they’re difficult sufficient to develop in good soil, with loads of solar and rain. Your abdomen, with a pH of round two, is not going to permit something to germinate.
If you’re into no-waste fruit, even the watermelon rind is edible when pickled. The course of is much like pickling different produce like cucumbers or carrots, the place you narrow the rind into chunks and use a flavorful pickling liquid to create a novel snack. You can discover one instance of how one can make pickled watermelon rinds, right here.
As for the watermelon flesh itself, strive a few of these inventive displays:
- Cut the flesh into chunks, or use a melon baller, and add them to a blended inexperienced or fruit salad
- Add them to smoothies
- Make n’ice cream or popsicles by mixing them with coconut milk and different fruits you want, comparable to frozen bananas
- Make watermelon chunks into grilled fruit skewers, together with honeydew melon, orange, grapefruit slices, and even berries
- Use it in chilly soups like gazpacho
- Make it right into a salad dressing, like a watermelon French dressing
- Blend it into mocktails, or throw cubes of it into common water to provide it a refreshing melon taste
- Make watermelon salsa, combining cubes with onion, cilantro, salt, lime, and a few diced jalapeno for somewhat kick
Wonderful Watermelon Recipes
As talked about above, incorporating watermelon into your food plan will be wholesome and good to your weight, pores and skin, digestion, and coronary heart. What’s extra, you possibly can get pleasure from it in quite a lot of methods! Opt for candy, savory, and cooling with the Cooling Watermelon Gazpacho. Have some summer season enjoyable and wow your picnic visitors with Grilled Watermelon and Pineapple Skewers. Tempt your palate with soothing and creamy 2-Ingredient Watermelon Gelato. If the entire above recipes sound tremendous indulgent, relaxation assured they’re simply pretty much as good to your well being as they’re to your soul!
1. Cooling Watermelon Gazpacho
Ditch your store-bought electrolyte substitute drink and luxuriate in this hydrating Watermelon Gazpacho as a substitute! Not solely is it tremendous refreshing and bursting with taste, but it surely’s additionally full of electrolytes like potassium and pure sodium (particularly good for individuals who sweat loads!), in addition to antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids.
2. Grilled Watermelon and Pineapple Skewers
Warm grilled watermelon with somewhat lime, salt, and mint is OMG scrumptious! Add candy pineapple to the combo, and you’ve got an appetizer that can please the whole household — and wow the visitors at your subsequent picnic. Fun truth: The wholesome plant-based fats within the tahini will enable you take up the watermelon’s lycopene higher, since lycopene is fat-soluble!
three. 2-Ingredient Watermelon Gelato
What do you get once you mix watermelon and banana collectively? A magically refreshing, sugar-free, and dairy-free gelato, that’s what! Enjoy this naturally candy and nourishing deal with as an after-dinner deal with, a mid-afternoon energy snack, or an energizing gasoline earlier than your exercise.
Watermelon IS Healthy
Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that people have cherished for hundreds of years. In trendy occasions, it’s develop into, in lots of locations, an iconic image of summer season. There are many kinds of watermelon on the market — each seeded and seedless — and you’ll eat them in quite a lot of methods, on their very own, or as a part of one other dish. So is watermelon wholesome? Yes, it’s! Along with their excessive water content material, watermelons provide lots of well being advantages when loved carefully and as a part of a balanced food plan.
Tell us within the feedback:
- What are a few of your favourite methods to get pleasure from watermelon?
- Have you tried any non-traditional watermelon varieties, or one with a uniquely coloured flesh?
- Have you ever made pickled watermelon rinds, or tried every other inventive methods to organize elements of a watermelon?
Feature picture: iStock.com/Sahil Yadav