A perfect health drink

No other fruit says summer like the subtly crunchy, thirst quenching watermelon. Although watermelons can now be found in the markets throughout the year, the season for watermelon is in the summer when they are sweet and of the best quality.

Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

Sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage. They are able to oxidise cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or stroke. They can add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close. They can increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and cause most of the joint damage that occurs in these conditions, and they can damage cells lining the colon, turning them into cancer cells. Fortunately, vitamin C and beta-carotene are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damage they would otherwise cause. As a matter of fact, high intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown in a number of scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the airway spasm that occurs in asthma, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3 per cent of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1 per cent of the DV for vitamin A. 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 density of watermelon.

Because this food has a 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!