So many people love watermelon because it’s sweet, juicy and refreshing. But it also has an added benefit — it may help maintain cardiovascular health because:
— It is virtually fat and cholesterol-free.
— It is low in sodium.
— It contains citrulline and arginine, which may help maintain blood flow, arteries and heart health.
Watermelon gets its red color from lycopene. It’s actually the lycopene leader among fresh fruits and vegetables, including fresh tomatoes. There are 15-to-20 mg of lycopene per 2-cup serving.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamins A, B6 and C and lots of other nutrients, such as potassium, thiamin and magnesium.
It helps you stay hydrated, since watermelon is 92 percent water. And it is a great addition to the diet when trying to manage your weight, since a cup of watermelon is only 40 calories.
The National Watermelon Promotion Board (watermelon.org) suggests meal preparers “serve friends and family fresh-from-our-kitchen watermelon recipes that are not only healthy, but also delicious, innovative and fun.
All of the dishes, from appetizers to desserts, feature sweet-tasting watermelon and fresh, seasonal ingredients.”
Watermelon is not just a dessert. It can be the basis for a super slaw, salad or an inspired “detox” drink. Prepare a Veggie De-Bloat Cocktail and flush out unwanted fluids.
Watermelon, celery, cucumber and parsley are high in water and low in sodium.
Remember to keep the rind for a Watermelon Rind, Carrot and Pineapple Slaw.
The citrulline and arginine-packed rinds may help aid in healthy blood flow (recipe online).
Safe handling practices for watermelon: According to the Food and Drug Administration, you should wash all fruits and vegetables, including all melons, big or small, in clean running water before cutting into them.
Again, this is true for all produce, rinds or not. You should also use clean knives and cutting surfaces as well as wash your hands before preparing food for eating.
Steps to consider when enjoying watermelon:
— Select the best melon possible to last the longest in your kitchen. The outside of the melon should be firm and free of any major cracks or dents. But once you’ve brought your watermelon home, the general rule of thumb is: “When in doubt, throw it out.” At some point, everyone who purchases fresh produce may not get around to consuming it in time.
— Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before cutting watermelons.
— Before cutting wash the outer surface with cool tap water and dry to remove surface dirt.
— Wash all food-contact areas and equipment, such as cutting boards, counter tops, peelers and knives with hot water and soap to avoid cross contamination.
— Maintain the temperature of watermelons. If you purchase it at room temperature, you an keep it at room temperature. If you refrigerate it after purchasing, be sure to keep the watermelon co.
— Always refrigerate watermelon once you ave cut into it. Either place in covered container or cover the cut surface with plastic wrap to prevent the flesh from becoming mushy. Always refrigerate immediately.
For the kids
When parents and caregivers promote good food choices and habits, they can help prevent their children from becoming overweight.
Encourage regular exercise and let children help with grocery shoping and meal preparation.
— Plan regular meal and snack times together. Eating together helps children learn eating can be a positive, social and enjoyable experience.
— Introduce healthy, new foods when children are most hungry.
— Teach children to read food labels so they can plan healthy meals and budget the intake of calories and fat over several days.
—Send children out on a color-finding mission in the supermarket’s produce section. They can create a rainbow in the cat with colorful fruits and vegetables. Then prepare a rainbow lunch with food cut into bite-size servings.
— Don’t just serve fruit as a dessert. add watermelon and other fruit to the meal as side dishes.
— For your next kid party, let the junior host or hostess help yo make an impressive watermelon carving. Assign safe tasks such as washing the fruit, drawing the design with a marker and filling and decorating the carving.
Fresh watermelon is certified by the American Heart Association.
When you spot the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark, you’ll instantly know the food has been certified to meet the American Herat Association’s nutrition requirements, making it a healthy food.
It’s a good first step in creating an overall sensible eating plan.