Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, it is related to the cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, and gourd that grow on vines on the ground. Watermelons are generally believed to have originated in Africa several thousand years ago and to have traveled over time from Africa to Asia to Europe to North America.
Watermelons can be round, oblong, or spherical in shape and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. When cut, watermelon is fleshy and juicy with seeds scattered all over the flesh. We often associate a deep red/pink color with watermelons, however there are many varieties that feature orange, yellow, or white flesh. These varieties are typically lower in the carotenoid lycopene than red/pink varieties.Watermelon’s sugar is naturally occurring, [watermelon] is still relatively high in sugar.”
Selection and Storage:When purchasing a whole, uncut watermelon, amongst several features to evaluate; is its weight. A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy for its size. Heaviness in a watermelon is a good thing because watermelon contains 90% of water content. Store in a dry and airy place.
Purchasing a pre-cut watermelon that has already been sliced into halves or quarters, choose the flesh that is deepest in color and lacks any white streaking. If the watermelon is seeded, the seeds should also be deep in color, or white. Once cut, watermelons should be refrigerated in order to best preserve their freshness, taste, and juiciness. Store your cut watermelon in a sealed, hard plastic or glass container with a lid.In this state it can last for 4-6days under a constant temperature below 8degress Celsius.
Nutritional Benefits :Watermelon is not a commonly allergenic food Watermelon is an unusual fruit as all parts of a watermelon can be eaten, even the rind. It is a source of:
- carotenoid lycopene and a rich source of phenolic antioxidants.
- cucurbitacin E, a triterpene anti-inflammatory phytonutrient, and unusual amounts of the amino acid citrulline. Intake of watermelon has been shown to increase blood levels of arginine andfor helping prevent over-accumulation of body fat.Arginine help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults. But only when consumed in very large amounts. For example, in one study that was reviewed, participants consumed either three cups or six cups of fresh watermelon juice daily over the course of three weeks and experienced increases in their blood arginine levels of approximately 12-22%.
- Anti-inflammatory properties
“The lycopene in watermelon makes it an anti-inflammatory fruit,” Jarzabkowski said. Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, the watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.
Reducing inflammation isn’t just good for people suffering from arthritis. “When you’re sick, you have cellular damage, which can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, smoking, pollution, disease, and your body becomes inflamed,” Jarzabkowski said. “It’s called ‘systemic inflammation.'” In this way, anti-inflammatory foods can help with overall immunity and general health.
- These amino acids promote blood flow, leading to cardiovascular health, improved circulation, (according to research at Texas A&M University,) erectile dysfunction improvement (you’d probably have to eat a lot of the fruit to get a Viagra-like effect, though).
- vitamin C; pantothenic acid, copper, biotin, potassium, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
In a recent study, food scientists compared the nutrient content of flesh from different parts of a watermelon: flesh from the center, the stem end, the blossom end (opposite from the stem), and the periphery (the part nearest to the rind) and the seed. It was found that there was no area in any of the watermelon varieties that came out badly in terms of nutrients, and in many of the watermelon varieties, the flesh’s outer periphery contained impressive concentrations of most nutrients.