Watermelon

Watermelon ~ Super Fruits

This Super Fruit is High in Lycopene's for Cancer & Heart Protection

One of a hot summer day’s simple delights is a slice of this juicy super fruit.

But, did you know that it might be one of the healthiest items at the picnic too?

If you're like most of us, you'd consider this super fruit healthy because it's a delicious way to hydrate, given that it's 92 percent water.

But food scientists have discovered this juicy red fruit is loaded with antioxidants to fortify the body, especially carotenoids that can offset cell damage caused by chemicals and sun.

Need even more reasons to take a bite?

It's especially high in lycopene, which is more typically associated with cooked tomatoes.

Lycopene first made the news as a protector against prostate cancer in men.

It has since been rated as equally potent for preventing heart disease, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.

Seeing the potential for the picnic favorite melon, scientists have delved even deeper into the nutrient power of watermelons with recent studies.

One project analyzed those mini-watermelons that have become a staple at markets for the past few years.

The fruit is about six to ten inches in diameter and perfect for singles or couples. Researchers tested 15 different lines of mini-watermelons and discovered a good number of them have even more with lycopene than the larger melons we all remember from summers past.

But there is one catch to the lycopene bonanza.

Don’t refrigerate the melon.

USDA researchers discovered that chilling down this super fruit inhibits the antioxidants while keeping it at room/air temperature optimized the power-nutrient content.

What's more, the food scientists discovered that room-temperature watermelons stored for two weeks after deemed ripe to pick by growers, contained 40 percent more lycopene and 50 to 140 percent more betacarotene than just-picked melons.

The researchers documented that lycopene continues to be manufactured as it continues to ripen, even off the vine.

When you hear vegetarians or raw food enthusiasts talk about "live foods," this sort of lycopene and nutrient production is an example of what they mean.

One note: Mass-harvested from big growers and typically stored for two to three weeks at 55 degrees, which doesn’t quell the lycopene as much as the standard 37 to 41 degrees of a fridge but still is down from the optimum of 70 degrees or room temperature.

So, when possible, buy your juicy red fruits from local or small growers, then keep them out for a while at home.

Maybe look for mini-melons if you don’t have a big crowd on hand.

But, once you've into it, it should it go into the fridge.

So make room for another slice or bowl of melon balls.

Watermelon Shows Potential to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

And, of all things, it's good for the blood vessels.

It contains substances that relax and open up those blood vessels, which is a major benefit for the body’s heart and circulatory system.

In that super fruit slice, no small thing to men who deal with the condition, is potential to reverse erectile dysfunction or ED.

Earlier studies have showed that lycopene concentrations in this red-flesh, super fruit, rival or even outdistance those of tomatoes.

Lycopene has been documented as a protector and fighter against prostate cancer.

What researchers at Texas A&M found in a recent study is that this super food, despite being 92 percent water, packs a wallop in the other 8 percent.

Along with lycopene, this super fruit contains other phytonutrients.

One recent discovered phytonutrient in this super fruit is "citrulline".

When citrulline is consumed, it converts to the amino acid "arginine" in the body through the work of selected enzymes.

Arginine has long been linked to improved heart and immune function, plus it shows promise as a way to offset Type 2 diabetes.

As for ED, arginine increases the blood supply’s level of nitric oxide that in turn relaxes the blood vessels.

The Director of the fruits and vegetables “improvement” lab at Texas A&M, says the effect is similar to Viagra (used for ED treatments) but not as “organ-specific.”

He says regular consumption of this super fruit might even prevent ED.

Another benefit of this nitric oxide reaction is a natural lowering of blood pressure.

Don’t refrigerate this juicy red fruit until it's cut

As I mentioned, the refrigeration diminishes the lycopene content.

Plus, the highest concentration of citrulline is in the rind.

So, you might consider using a professional-quality juicer to use the entire fruit.

The Director and his lab colleagues are working to develop watermelons with more citruline in the red flesh portion of the fruit.

For now, this summertime treat couldn’t taste better and when your guests arrive at the picnic or barbecue, you can offer this light and festive thirst quencher.

If you're wondering what to have with dinner this evening ...

Watermelon Sate with Honey-Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Though watermelon is a delicious, often messy treat eaten straight off the rind, sometimes it's refreshing to change things up.

When cubed and dipped in a sweet, spicy sauce of orange-blossom honey, sherry vinegar, cinnamon and chili powder, the juicy fruit becomes an elegant starter, refreshing side or complex dessert.

Prep: 10 min

Total: 15 min

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. orange-blossom honey

1/4 tsp. habanero chilli powder

4 Tbs. sherry vinegar

1 small watermelon

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preparation;

1. First you want to prepare the sauce.

Put the honey, vinegar, cinnamon, chilli powder, salt, and 1 Tbs. water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring.

Remove from the heat and pour into a small dish. Let cool, then chill.

2. Cut wedges from the melon (as much as you like).

Peel them and remove the seeds, if desired, then cut in chunks.

Thread the chunks onto small wooden skewers.

3. When you are ready to serve this amazingly refreshing snack, just platter up as many of the melon skewers as you need, place the dipping sauce on the platter, and go out and make some people happy, happy.

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