Watermelon The Cool Summer Fruit
Watermelon is one of the oldest-known fruits to mankind. It is known to Indians from 4th Century BC. Susruta in his Susruta Samhita mentioned that it was cultivated in abundance, around Sindhu river area and he named it Kalinda or Kalinga.
It is one of the most sought after fruits in summer—the coolest and thirst quencher. Though it is available throughout the year, the sweetest and the best quality is available during the summer months. Watermelon protects us from sunstroke and reduces the risk of dehydration. As compared to other fruits, water content in this fruit is very high. It is composed of 92 per cent of water. In red or pink fruit carotenoid and beta carotin is found profusely, which our body changes into vitamin A. Watermelon is the only fruit that has high concentration of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is the cancer-fighting oxidant. The antioxidants which pass through the body protect heart by getting rid of harmful molecules. Lycopene gives the red colour to the fruit and reduces the risk of prostrate cancer, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Watermelon is not only delicious, but tremendously healthy as well. Most people believe that because watermelon is 92 per cent water, they have very little nutritional value. But that is not the case. When you eat watermelon you are eating powerful antioxidants that travel through the body to neutralise free radical damage. Free radicals are organic molecules that contribute to ageing, tissue damage and even the progression of certain diseases. Free radical molecules are very unstable, so they like to bond with other molecules, changing their function. For example, free radicals can oxidise cholesterol so it sticks to blood vessel walls, blocking arteries. They can also cause joint damage and increase inflammation making arthritis even worse.
There are different varieties of watermelons available with innovative names like Sharbat-e Anar, Nurjahan, Anarkali, Sugarbaby, Redtiger, All sweet, Nandari, etc.
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THE FOLLOWING ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATERMELON
► Watermelon contains vitamin B-6, vitamin C, fibre, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, sodium and calcium abundantly. Potassium and sodium are the rich electrolites found in watermelon that replaces the salts we lose in precipitation. Potassium-rich diet helps keep salts from raising blood pressure and reduce the risk of age-related bone loss. Potassium is also helpful in flushing out the harmful toxins from the kidneys; reduce the uric acid content in the blood, thereby, reducing the risk of developing kidney stone.
► Watermelon has the high concentration of glutathione; which helps boost our immune system. It is fat free and gives us enough energy to make our immune system strong.
► The content of calcium in watermelon is helpful in promoting healthy teeth and gums.
► Watermelon improves our eye sight. Eyes are protected from macular degeneration. A glass of watermelon juice with little honey and lemon does wonders with your vision.
► Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotenes. Both have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Vitamin C helps build immunity and prevent cell damage.
► Watermelon juice is helpful in preventing the cholesterol from clogging arteries and can increase HDL—the good cholesterol—thereby, reducing the risk of cardio vascular diseases.
► A glass of watermelon juice can naturally eliminate waste and promote proper digestion.
► Watermelon is good for the skin too. As watermelon juice cleans the body of toxic waste, it also greately reduces the itchiness that results from the toxicity of acidosis. The vitamins present in watermelon keep the skin fresh and radiant by removing black spots, etc., from the face.
► Watermelon can be used as beauty aid to reduce skin blemishes. Simply rub your face with a small piece of watermelon. Leave the juice for ten minutes before washing off with warm water and then with a splash of cold water.
► The seeds of the watermelon are also highly nutritious. They are available in dried form. They contain high amount of protien and fat, and are a source of many vitamins and minerals. These seeds are recommended for people on low calorie diet and weight loss.
► Regular intake of watermelon cures headaches, dizziness, detoxifies the body and removes harmful agents from the body. Watermelon is fat free but helps us gain energy.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna