No other fruit says summer quite like thirst-quenching watermelon. I had my first triathlon in Connecticut two weeks ago and at the end of the race there was plenty of food for the competitors to enjoy. Unfortunately at this race there was nothing on the menu I wanted. Then I saw a guy munching on a watermelon. “Where did you get that”? Man did those few wedges of sweet, juicy watermelon hit the spot. Much of the watermelon’s health-giving powers, as well as its blush color, are due to an abundance of the phytochemical lycopene. By helping counter oxidative stress, lycopene may play a role in taming, inflammation, certain cancers and maintaining healthy eyesight. Watermelon is also rich in citrulline, an amino acid used to make arginine, which relaxes blood vessels to help maintain a healthy heart. And the seeds that we tend to discard? They are packed with magnesium, a mineral vital for nerve function, blood pressure regulation, immunity, and bone health. No wonder I was craving watermelon after swimming a mile, biking 25 and running 6.2 miles.
Want to know the best ways to eat this health giving summer delight?
- Juicy watermelon wedges are perfect fare for a picnic, beach day snack, or post exercise on a hot day.
- Lay ½ inch thick watermelon slices on the grill and heat both sides
- Puree extra watermelon and add to ice cube trays, freeze and add to your favorite beverage.
- Chop or puree and add to salsas, chutneys, compotes, and vinaigrettes.
- Add to a summer spinach salad. A favorite of mine is spinach, watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves tossed with lime juice and olive oil.
- For backyard parties carve out the watermelon and fill with other seasonal fruits.