In my house the months June through September have their own special name: Watermelon Season. Every year when spring starts rolling into summer we rub our hands in anticipation of this amazing fruit.
There are many reasons to enjoy and celebrate watermelon. It is inexpensive and abundant in the summer time. It's a great way to get your kids to stay hydrated during those hot summer months. It makes a healthy alternative to sugary snacks and sweets. And it is the perfect thing to bring to a party or barbecue, for a family on the go.
Did you know that in addition to all these other great things, watermelon is a superfood? Besides being delicious, refreshing, and hydrating, watermelon full of the following nutrients:
- Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart, lowers cholesterol, and decreases inflammation. In addition, lycopene may prevent many types of cancer, including prostate cancer, brain tumors, and breast cancer. According to the USDA, watermelon has the one of the highest lycopene contents of any whole food, second only to guavas.
- Vitamin C, an antioxidant and general immune-booster. Vitamin C is an important part of our serotonin pathway, so in addition to preventing sickness, it also supports a positive mood.
- Copper, important for keeping your skin and arteries elastic, copper also increases energy levels, lowers cholesterol, and prevents graying hair.
- Magnesium, which helps you absorb calcium into your bones and is also needed for nervous system balance, heart health, blood sugar control, and brain function. A vital mineral, magnesium is necessary for over 300 chemical processes of the body!
- Thiamine, which supports a healthy brain, prevents cataracts, helps build cells and burn carbohydrates for energy.
- Riboflavin, an antioxidant cofactor which helps lower free radicals, prevents anemia, and is an important part of energy production.
- Vitamin B6, which helps produce red blood cells, supports detoxification in the liver, and promotes a healthy immune system. B6 also is part of our synthesis of GABA, dopamine, and serotonin, and so it may help lower anxiety and improve your mood.
- Folate, a vitamin necessary for heart health due to its involvement in removing homocysteine, a damaging by-product of protein digestion. In pregnancy, folate is essential for the healthy formation of the fetus. Folate also plays an important role in brain and overall nervous system function.
- Choline, a nutrient that plays an important role in memory and brain function, sleep, and methylation.
With all these great health benefits, consider adding watermelon to your diet for a delicious, healthy summer snack. Check out some of the recipes below for more ideas on how to enjoy this amazing fruit.
Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad