This wonder fruit does great things for your body. “To begin with it is rich in electrolytes (sodium and potassium) that we lose through sweat. Further, the fruit is very filling, has less calorie content and is very nourishing. Single watermelon consists of 93% water. A two-cup serving of watermelon contains many important vitamins and minerals like A, B6 and C to potassium and iron, which boosts your health,” explains Dr.Malati Karwarkar, nutritionist.
Dietitians advise that we should begin the day with a diced melon as they cleanse the body. “A bowl of watermelon every morning starts a summer day off with close to no- fat, high fibre goodness. Consuming it for breakfast, protects you from the heat,” suggests Amrita Rai, nutritionist. Most recommended time to consume watermelon is in the evenings.
Filled with vital nutrients
“Watermelons are great antioxidants that help you fight radicals. Watermelon contains lycopene which is a carotenoid and pigment that gives the watermelon its red colour. Preliminary research shows that consuming foods containing lycopene with a decreased risk of prostate and cervical cancer. Watermelon contains higher concentrate-ions of lycopene (15-20 mg per two-cup serving) than any other fresh fruit or vegetable,” explains Rai.
Diverse uses in food
Watermelon can be incorporated in our diet in a number of ways. “This fruit can be used as an ingredient for multiple recipes like slush, granita, smoothies, sherbets, salsa and gazpacho other than its own in chunks or juice.” If you are not fond of having it as it is, you can chop it up and sprinkle some sugar or drizzle some honey on it. Watermelon juice with mint leaves is very refreshing on a hot day. Watermelon salads with pineapple or combined with cucumber and tomatoes is a favourite with many,” explains Dr Karwarkar.
This fruit can be consumed at breakfast, lunch or dinner, even as a dessert. Watermelon is a perfect addition to a salad, salsa or cold drink. Topping chunks of sweet watermelon with fruit flavoured sherbets is also a good way of consuming this fruit.
Other Fruitful consumption!
You can sprinkle chat masala on watermelon chunks and have it as tea time snack. The rind of the watermelon is often pickled and relished. Watermelon seeds are also fried and eaten. Fruits are seldom cooked as a vegetable when immature,” she adds.
You can even make a gorgeous and eye-catching centrepiece for your dinner party by making a watermelon basket fruit salad. “Cut a slice of the rind so that the watermelon can ‘sit’ firmly on a plate without rolling off. Cut the top portion and gently scoop out the flesh.
Fill the cavity with fresh fruits, including watermelon chunks and hey presto – a lovely edible fruit basket is ready. It is also ideal to carry to picnics. Chop the fruits, chill them and carry them in a container. Assemble it just before serving. You can also make a watermelon ‘boat’ centrepiece in a similar way,” explains Dr Karwarkar. Watermelons can also be beautifully carved in different shapes. Watermelon ‘sculpture’ competitions are often held at various places.
The red, white and green combinations of the fruit make it eye-catching for ‘designers’ to carve out beautiful designs for dining tables at weddings and parties.
As a member of the Cucurbitaceous family, Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. They range in size from ten pounds to ninety pounds.
“Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, but this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis,” informs Dr Karwarkar. So this summer make the most of the season by munching on some sweet watermelons, as they’re good for your health!