Some things just scream summer to me, and watermelon is one of those things! I grew up on a farm with a massive dam (dubbed the Wirrinya Aquatic Club) where we would spend most of our summer waterskiing along with other (extreme) sports. Mum would send us off to the dam with an esky chock-full with sandwiches, her home-made slice, a selection of stone fruit off the trees in the back yard…. And a big watermelon. We were set for a full day of skiing.
As the sun started to set and we could no longer ski, we’d slice open that watermelon and top up both our energy and hydration levels. Summer to me is the simple pleasure of enjoying water activities with family and friends and eating a nice big chunk of fresh, juicy watermelon… and seeing how far you could spit the seeds!!
FACT: Despite popular belief that watermelon is simply sugar and water, it’s not! It is actually a nutrient dense fruit, loaded with Vitamin C, phenolic antioxidants and fibre, with a medium (not high) glyceamic index. Here’s some of the other health benefits to eating watermelon:
- Alongside of tomatoes, watermelon has moved up to the front of the line in recent research studies on high-lycopene foods. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health, and it’s now believed for bone health as well.
- Watermelon is high in Citrulline, an amino acid which our body converts into arginine (another amino acid). Arginine can help improve blood flow and other aspects of our cardiovascular health. There’s also some preliminary evidence from animal studies that greater conversion of Citrulline into arginine may help prevent excess accumulation of fat in fat cells due to blocked activity of an enzyme called tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase, or TNAP!
- Watermelon is so low in fat it’s not funny. Team it with some mint, and there’s your summer snack!
Watermelon is at it’s nutrient-dense best when the flesh is bright red. And Summer is the perfect time to eat it for breakfast, lunch and snacks. The following delicious recipes are courtesy of Australian Melons Association Inc.