Is Watermelon Healthy?
Like most people, my family tree boasts some big personalities. Top among them was my brilliant great aunt Deemie, a cardiothorasic surgeon during an age when women were relegated to running a classroom or a household, not an OR. She had strong (and at times misguided) beliefs about everything from politics to plastic wrap, and was particularly opinionated about food and nutrition. As a watermelon-obsessed eight-year-old, I remember her telling me not to eat too much, since “it’s full of sugar and empty calories”. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out the truth: my aunt may have known how to repair a lung, but she was wrong about one of my favorite fruits: watermelon is healthy after all.
A Hydrating Fruit
First and foremost watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods at the produce stand. It’s more than 90 percent water, which makes it a perfect way to quench thirst AND hunger during the heat of summer.
Low in Calories
Two cups of juicy watermelon comes in at just 80 calories.
Full of Vitamin C
That same two cups also delivers a quarter of daily needs for vitamin C.
A Source of Antioxidants
The lovely pink of a watermelon is indicative of its lycopene. That’s a powerful antioxidant linked with reduced risk for cancer in observational studies. The less common yellow-fleshed variety of watermelon is also a source of phytochemicals: the antioxidant beta carotene, which is commonly associated with the likes of carrots and sweet potatoes.
Protein in the seeds
Like pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds are entirely edible. Indeed, one ounce of soaked, sprouted, and dried watermelon seeds comes in at 10 grams of protein. You can learn about sprouting and roasting seeds here or pick up a package of Go Raw sprouted seeds. You can also simply roast them like you do pumpkin seeds, though they won’t have quite the same nutritional benefits as when sprouted.
What about the sugar?
Like all fruit, watermelon is a simple carbohydrate. However, putting it in the same category as cookies and candy is hardly accurate. A whole host of nutritional benefits come along for the ride, not to mention the fact that a watermelon’s color and flavor come entirely from Mother Nature.
Let’s not forget what’s important above all: watermelon is plainly delicious. Straight from the fridge, cut into slices, and enjoyed on a hot day. There’s nothing better. Here are a few ways to enjoy it.