Quick Recipes and Easy

Watermelon Dectective

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest in health news, you may have seen a few articles reporting that watermelon is more nutritious when served at room temperature. Personally, I prefer my watermelon ice cold, so I was a bit dismayed when I heard about this. After all, that’s one of the joys of these sweltering summer days…a juicy, deep red, icy cold slice of my favorite fruit. The thought of eating watermelon at room temperature is well…a small less than appetizing.

I did a small sleuthing by taking a look at the study behind these headlines. Turns out that watermelons continue to produce more lycopene and beta-carotene even after they are picked, as long as they are stored at room temperature. Lycopene, as you may know, is a powerful anti-oxidant that gives watermelon (and tomatoes) that gorgeous red color and also plays a role in preventing heart disease as well as some cancers. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A.

The study, completed by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that whole watermelons, when stored at 70 degrees, had substantially more of these nutrients than melons that had been freshly picked or that had been stored at cooler temperatures.

When compared to freshly picked melons, whole watermelons that had been stored at 70 degrees (the temperature of an air-conditioned building) for 14 days, gained up to 40 percent more lycopene and a whopping 50 percent more beta-carotene.

Watermelon is a fantastic summer food. Right to its name, this favorite summer fruit is 92% water and two cups (a 1-inch half moon slice) contain only 80 calories. Watermelon is also loaded with potassium and is very low in sodium. Of course, watermelon contains no cholesterol or stout.

Tip from your Wellness Coach: Go ahead and delight in your watermelon ice cold! Store whole watermelons up to 2 weeks at room temperature, rather than your refrigerator, before eating. Chill just prior to serving, so you don’t lose out on any of those fantastic nutrients watermelon has to offer. Look for watermelons that are free of hurt (cuts, bruises, cracks or dents). The yellow, flat place on one side of the melon is perfectly normal, as this was the part of the melon that had contact with the ground as the melon was ripening on the vine. Rinse the melon well before cutting, as your knife could drag dirt and germs into the fruit.

Pleased eating!

Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D., is executive producer of the gorgeous and relaxing Flash movie, Lessons from Water. See it at: LessonsfromWater.com LessonsfromWater.com or visit our website at primalwaters.com primalwaters.com

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