Watermelon may be roughly 92 percent water, but don’t let its name fool you.
Sure, it’s refreshing (especially when served cold), and its mild sweetness – particularly for my adult palate – makes it preferable to soda and other sugary beverages on a hot summer afternoon.
But this fruit is no lightweight nutritionally.
Watermelon is a Great Source of Lycopene
Each mouthful packs significant levels of vitamins A, C and B6, along with potassium, and the superstar phytonutrient lycopene. You probably associate the latter with tomatoes and tomato sauce, but may not realize that watermelon is an even better source.
One serving contains roughly 40 percent more lycopene than a serving of fresh tomatoes, making it one of the lycopene leaders in fresh produce. Guava may have a little more, but it’s not much of a thirst quencher.
More studies are needed, but research has shown that higher levels of lycopene may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease – including hardening of the arteries – along with preventing or treating certain cancers.
But getting your kids to grab a cold slice of watermelon is less dependent on medical risk factors and nutritional data, than it is on deliciousness. Face it, if this juicy treat tasted like kale, there would be far fewer takers.
And I mean no disrespect to the kale crowd!
Try These Unique Ways to Enjoy Watermelon
That being said, there are other ways to enjoy watermelon – including its seeds. You can sprout or roast them, but it can be even more fun to spit them. There are even sanctioned contests for this wacky sport, along with a world record of 75 feet, 2 inches.
If, like me, you find this somewhat gross, you can buy “seedless” watermelons. These aren’t really without seeds, but are “sterile” hybrids that contain small, undeveloped seeds that are white, soft and easily eaten.
Either way, this fruit is delicious in salads, smoothies or a frozen watermelon daiquiri.
And did you know that, according to Guinness World Records, the heaviest watermelon was 350.5 pounds? That’s a lot of daiquiris!
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