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Cold Watermelon
Photo: Studiomill
There’s nothing like biting into a cold, delicious, ripe watermelon on a hot summer day. It’s a refreshing treat when the temperature and humidity outside are dancing near triple digits. But did you know watermelon is good for your body?

Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Today China is the world’s single largest watermelon producer. They started cultivating the sweet fruit in the 10th century (AD). There is a bit of diversity on how the large melons were found in the United States. Some believe they came over during the African slave trade. Others find evidence that early French traders found native Americans growing the fruit. Today you’ll find them largely produced in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. Some growers have even experimented with growing them in cube-shaped containers (and pyramids).

But why is watermelon good for you? It contains 6% natural sugar and is 92% water by weight. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C. It contains beta-carotene and is a significant source of lycopene, which can help prevent cancer. Tomatoes are often thought of as the best source of lycopene, but watermelon tops the list with this nutrient. Watermelon contains vitamin A which helps with the health of your eyes and is also an antioxidant. It also contains vitamin B6 which helps with brain function and helps convert protein into energy.

Ease Inflammation

Watermelon is also a very good source of potassium which helps muscle and nerve function. Some believe this delectable fruit can ease inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. It also has 0% fat and 0% cholesterol. You always benefit when you bite into a crunchy sweet piece of watermelon.

Some people like to simply slice up watermelon and pass it out at mealtime. Others add it to a mix of fruit salad. My aunt always carved the top out of a big watermelon, hollowed it out and then filled with a mixture of fruit for a scrumptious fruit salad. You can also make a simple thirst quencher by blending chunks of watermelon (no seeds) with a few ice-cubes and then sprinkle in some lime juice.

The next time your kids are sweating and thirsty, instead of handing them a can of soda pop, give them a slice of thirst quenching watermelon. It tastes so good and it will help you stay healthy.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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