I’m gonna brag just a little: the Food Revolution Network YouTube channel has some common movies with tens of 1000’s of views. They function deep conversations with considerate folks, wholesome recipes, and invaluable and actionable recommendation on find out how to reside a sustainable, scrumptious, and moral life.
Let’s distinction that with the movies that seem if you search YouTube for “drop a watermelon.” The prime itemizing, “DROPPING WATERMELON 45FT!!” has been seen practically 17 million instances, and the channel that produced it has eight million subscribers. Just under it, you possibly can be a part of 10 million viewers in watching the identical creator drop a watermelon that was first frozen with liquid nitrogen. And underneath that, an Australian channel with six million subscribers exhibits what occurs if you spray a watermelon with Line-X protecting coating, after which drop it 150 ft.
Clearly, the gravity-induced destruction of watermelons is an important matter. But regardless of my want to be hip and related, I’m going to depart that topic be, and as a substitute speak about what occurs if you — look forward to it — truly eat watermelon.
Wild About Watermelon
Watermelon is without doubt one of the most beloved fruits just about in all places 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 if you happen to wanted any extra proof that Americans aren’t distinctive of their affection for the enormous 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 . Popular items, they’re solely for show and harvested earlier than ripening. (Which made me just a little unhappy; think about how far more effectively we may 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 varieties for lots much less cash. Which is an efficient factor since you’re most likely going to eat yours and need extra.
The candy taste and distinct juiciness of watermelons make them common fruits. But are watermelons too candy to have well being advantages? I imply, all that sugar! Plus, because the identify says, they’re largely 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 typically regarded as the “all-American” summer season fruit (at the least, by Americans), they’re truly native to Africa. Archaeological stays of watermelon seeds have been found in northeastern Africa, courting 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 courting to at the least four,000 years in the past, scientists discovered a picture of a big, striped, rectangular fruit on a tray, additional suggesting that the enjoyment of watermelons dates again 1000’s of years. Sadly, there have been no inventive renderings of seed-spitting contests.
The oldest references to watermelons being candy are in codices of Jewish legal guidelines from Israel courting to the time of the Roman Empire. In reality, 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 most likely provide you with the traditional inexperienced striped rectangular, or the slice of pink with black seeds and a white/inexperienced rind. That’s the traditional 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 common in West Africa, and grown for its seeds). As for the extra widespread sorts of watermelons, there are much more than you most likely understand.
Types of Watermelon
Watermelon is a good looking fruit as is, however its range is actually beautiful. While many watermelon varieties can look related on the surface, their flesh can are available in a rainbow of colours, together with pink, pink, orange, yellow, and even white. Cutting right into a watermelon can turn into its very personal “species reveal” celebration, with out the explosions.
Watermelon rinds, then again, 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 potential. All varieties are available in spherical or rectangular shapes (once they’re not crammed into rising bins for aesthetics).
The three hottest sorts of watermelon loved within the US are :
This is a smaller sort of watermelon, which you’ll be able to normally retailer in your fridge complete. It weighs anyplace from 5-15 kilos. Some common forms of icebox watermelon embody Sugar Baby, Cal Sweet Bush, and Garden Baby.
Weighing between 15-50 kilos, the picnic watermelon could be very giant and is finest reduce earlier than storing in your fridge, until your fridge inside is the scale of a walk-in closet. Some common forms of picnic watermelon embody Black Diamond, Crimson Sweet, and Dixie Sweet.
Usually related in dimension to picnic watermelons, seedless sorts are nearly all of watermelons you’ll discover in grocery shops. Seedless watermelons happened 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 type of the mule of watermelons, made equally to crossing a horse and donkey. Popular varieties embody 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 number of good-for-you compounds.
As their identify suggests, watermelons have a excessive water content material, which helps hold 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 supplies the flesh its pinkish-red coloration. (As a end result, pink watermelons are naturally increased 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 grow to be low on the glycemic load scale. This implies that regardless of their sweetness, they probably received’t spike your blood sugar if you eat them.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
The watermelon is mighty in its dimension and form, but in addition in its potential well being advantages. Research has discovered watermelon is a purposeful meals as a result of its flesh, seeds, sprouts, and leaves are stuffed with compounds which will supply protecting properties to those that eat them.
Some of the highest well being advantages of watermelon embody:
1. It might make it easier to shed pounds.
Watermelon is wealthy in water and fiber, which assist fill you up if you eat it. These vitamins can cut back urge for food and doubtlessly forestall overeating that will in any other case contribute to undesirable weight achieve.
In one examine amongst 33 chubby or overweight adults, researchers discovered that consuming two cups of watermelon day by 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 consequences of one other group who consumed isocaloric, (which means, the identical variety of energy because the watermelon) low-fat cookies day by 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, supply 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 gasoline that dilates your blood vessels and helps forestall blockages.
three. It might have anticancer properties.
Eating loads of naturally antioxidant-rich meals is a technique you could assist your physique higher defend itself towards most cancers.
The L-citrulline content material and nitric oxide boosting results of watermelon stands out as the purpose 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 growing antioxidant exercise and assuaging irritation.
5. It could also be good on your pores and skin.
The antioxidants in watermelon assist defend your pores and skin from solar injury and struggle oxidative stress. Antioxidants, just like the lycopene in watermelon, might assist decrease wrinkles and gradual different growing old results associated to UV injury.
6. It might assist help your athletic efficiency.
Watermelon is a pure supply of L-citrulline, which can enhance L-arginine bioavailability and nitric oxide manufacturing that may support in train efficiency. There are a number of research which have discovered success in L-citrulline supplementation for enhancing train efficiency and restoration.
One examine amongst 22 athletically skilled males discovered that oral L-citrulline supplementation for seven days considerably elevated plasma L-arginine ranges. It additionally decreased completion time of a four-kilometer bicycle race by 1.5%, in comparison with the placebo group. The athletes additionally reported considerably decreased muscle fatigue following train. Of course, cyclists won’t race quicker if they’ve to hold the watermelon with them whereas they trip.
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 weight loss plan — like different diets with related single-food names — is a fad weight loss plan supposed for fast weight reduction. In this weight loss plan, you eat nothing however watermelon for 3 days, after which regularly add again extra meals. Not solely is this fashion of consuming unsustainable, it may be harmful.
Such restrictive approaches to weight reduction aren’t really helpful for pregnant girls, folks with diabetes, or these with impaired immune perform. Watermelon incorporates an array of nutritional vitamins and minerals, however lacks protein and different necessary macronutrients. Overall, watermelon is finest when eaten sparsely as a part of an total balanced weight loss plan. It’s by no means guess to depend on one single meals to fulfill all of your dietary wants.
For people trying to decrease their consumption of FODMAPs, watermelons probably fall into the pink gentle listing 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 may cause digestive issues for folks with current 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 referred to as oral allergy syndrome. This phenomenon typically coexists with an current 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 widespread allergic crops like ragweed. Bodies sometimes get confused, leading to an analogous allergic response.
How to Choose and Store Watermelons
For one of the best outcomes, it’s useful to know the way to decide on a top quality watermelon, after which retailer it correctly when you get it residence.
Watermelons rating comparatively properly on the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Indeed, they practically made the Clean 15 listing, so the selection of whether or not to buy natural or not might come all the way down to availability, finances, sustainability considerations, and private desire.
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 lightweight 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 most likely picked too early, and will not style fairly as ripe and juicy as others.
Your different senses additionally come in useful when selecting watermelon. A ripe melon ought to sound deep, full, and hole if 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 if you maintain the watermelon, it ought to really feel heavy for its dimension, due to 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 dimension that may finest serve your wants and the way rapidly you’ll be capable to eat it, as watermelons can differ from pretty small to very, very giant.
The Best Ways to Store Your Watermelon
When you get your watermelon residence, 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 gasoline 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, underneath any circumstances, give your watermelon a reputation, (even when it does appear to be a large head) as it will make it very tough so that you can reduce it up and eat it later.
Watermelons, of their complete type, hold finest at room temperature. Or, even higher, retailer them at round 55°F, the place they are going to hold for at the least 7-10 days. Once the melon is reduce open, transfer it to the fridge in a sealed container, the place it’s good for an additional 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 take pleasure in.
Creative Ways to Enjoy Watermelon
Watermelon slices are essentially the most conventional approach to take pleasure in this fruit, however there are a number of different methods to take advantage of 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 residence. You can throw them in your salads for further crunch, and a few folks even take pleasure in them on their oatmeal.
And earlier than you get involved about issues your mother and father might 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, won’t enable 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 chop the rind into chunks and use a flavorful pickling liquid to create a novel snack. You can discover one instance of find out how to make pickled watermelon rinds, right here.
As for the watermelon flesh itself, attempt a few of these artistic shows:
- 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, equivalent 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 offer it a refreshing melon taste
- Make watermelon salsa, combining cubes with onion, cilantro, salt, lime, and a few diced jalapeno for just a little kick
Wonderful Watermelon Recipes
As talked about above, incorporating watermelon into your weight loss plan may be wholesome and good on your weight, pores and skin, digestion, and coronary heart. What’s extra, you possibly can take pleasure in it in a wide range of methods! Opt for candy, savory, and cooling with the Cooling Watermelon Gazpacho. Have some summer season enjoyable and wow your picnic company with Grilled Watermelon and Pineapple Skewers. Tempt your palate with soothing and creamy 2-Ingredient Watermelon Gelato. If all the above recipes sound tremendous indulgent, relaxation assured they’re simply nearly as good on your well being as they’re on your soul!
1. Cooling Watermelon Gazpacho
Ditch your store-bought electrolyte alternative drink and luxuriate in this hydrating Watermelon Gazpacho as a substitute! Not solely is it tremendous refreshing and bursting with taste, however it’s additionally full of electrolytes like potassium and pure sodium (particularly good for individuals who sweat lots!), in addition to antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids.
2. Grilled Watermelon and Pineapple Skewers
Warm grilled watermelon with just a little lime, salt, and mint is OMG scrumptious! Add candy pineapple to the combination, and you’ve got an appetizer that may please all the household — and wow the company at your subsequent picnic. Fun reality: The wholesome plant-based fats within the tahini will make it easier to take in the watermelon’s lycopene higher, since lycopene is fat-soluble!
three. 2-Ingredient Watermelon Gelato
What do you get if 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 gas earlier than your exercise.
Watermelon IS Healthy
Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that people have beloved for 1000’s of years. In fashionable instances, it’s turn into, in lots of locations, an iconic image of summer season. There are many sorts of watermelon on the market — each seeded and seedless — and you’ll eat them in a wide range 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 supply lots of well being advantages when loved sparsely and as a part of a balanced weight loss plan.
Tell us within the feedback:
- What are a few of your favourite methods to take pleasure in 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 another artistic methods to arrange elements of a watermelon?
Feature picture: iStock.com/Sahil Yadav