Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Health Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelon is a popular fruit here in the Philippines, especially when summer, there’s no other summer fruit like the thirst quenching watermelon. Watermelon is said to be the summer fruit because it is on its best quality when harvested during the summer season.
Watermelons can be round, oblong, or even square, as seen in Japan, they have the square watermelons. These square watermelons are not genetically modified. The Japanese figured out how to grow a square watermelon. The technique is very simple; they insert the watermelons into square glass cases or square wood cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine, so when the watermelon is ready to harvest it’s on a square shape. There are also watermelons that have yellow flesh. I think the yellow flesh is much crunchier than the red-flesh watermelon.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelon is said to help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like colon cancer, asthma, diabetes, and arthritis. The health benefits of watermelon are really great. No matter how it is sliced, it is packed with some of the most important antioxidants found in nature.

It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the DV for vitamin A. Watermelons are packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature.

Watermelon is also a very concentrated source of the carotenoid, lycopene. Well known for being abundant in tomatoes and particularly well absorbed from cooked tomato products containing a little fat such as olive oil, lycopene is also present in high amounts in watermelon and mangoes. The antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to prevention of heart disease. Protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells has also been shown to be an antioxidant role of lycopene.

Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Our food ranking system also qualified watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, and potassium. Part of this high ranking was due to the higher nutrient richness of watermelon. Because this food has higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits (a whole cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories), it delivers more nutrients per calorie-an outstanding health benefit!

One more reason to enjoy watermelon before summer ends: this sweet, crunchy, cooling fruit is exceptionally high in citrulline, an amino acid our bodies use to make another amino acid, arginine, which is used in the urea cycle to remove ammonia from the body, and by the cells lining our blood vessels to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide not only relaxes blood vessels, lowering high blood pressure, it is the compound whose production is enhanced by Viagra to prevent erectile dysfunction. Arginine has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in obese type 2 diabetic patients with insulin resistance.

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