Summer is coming.
What fruit is there on our planet that stands out as a “summer treat” like WATERMELON?
Thinking about watermelon brings me back to my childhood. We always had sliced watermelon as a treat on hot summer days. I remember having seed spitting contests with my friends and siblings. I remember the sweet and sticky juice of the watermelon running down my cheeks after taking a big bite out of the slice. I remember the juice running down my hands, wrists and forearms. It is a “sticky” memory and a fun memory. Nowadays I cube my watermelon and enjoy it in a bowl with a fork….equally as tasty. I also add watermelon cubes to summer salad. There are many delicious ways to enjoy watermelon even if you aren’t a kid anymore. It’s not just a “kid friendly treat”. Let’s dig deeper…. shall we
Watermelons are 92% water but loaded with nutrients. When enjoying the juicy watermelon you are giving your body a good dose of Vitamins A, B6, Vitamin C, lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids and small amounts of potassium.
Watermelon is fat free, very low in sodium and has about 40 calories per cup. You can eat a lot of watermelon before you have to worry about eating too much.
The antioxidant values in watermelon are good for helping your body do all of the necessary things it needs to do each day to keep you functioning at your peak. Antioxidants are your first defense against disease.
The amino acid profile of a watermelon is great. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Our bodies need protein daily.
The lycopene in watermelon is very high….in fact one of the highest of all types of fruit and veggies. Lycopene is a phytonutrient which naturally occurs in fruits and veggies and this nutrient boosts a healthy response. Lycopene has been linked with heart health, bone health, and prostate health. It is also a strong antioxidant believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The redder or riper your watermelon is before eating it, the stronger these nutrients will be. One particular antioxidant of value is beta-carotene which helps with immunity, eye and skin health and helps the body fight against free radicals. You get this antioxidant from the bright colour, also found in orange-red fruits and vegetables.
The amino acids in watermelon help to promote good circulation and good cardiovascular health. I need help with the circulation as with my MS, my left foot and lower leg are cold as a result of a bone break years ago that just did not heal back to it’s original state. Plus my MS has primarily affected my left leg with weakness and “disconnect” so anything to boost circulation is a good thing for me.
WATERMELON, FETA & CUCUMBER SUMMER SALAD
Quick and easy…sweet and salty….good for a dinner party of 6 people.
- The insides of a 7 to 8 pound seedless watermelon, cubed
- 1/2 of an English cucumber sliced
- 4 ounces cubed goat feta (I prefer goat as it is easier on digestion but you could use cow if you like)
- Zest of 1/2 of an organic lemon
- fresh basil leaves, loosely packed and diced to measure 1/2 cup
- Good sea salt or pink salt
- You could drizzle with a good olive oil if you wish to add another element to the “health quotient” of this recipe.
Arrange the prepared cucumber and watermelon on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the feta cheese crumbles, lemon zest and sea salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as per taste. Garnish all over with the diced basil and serve immediately. I like to serve it on top of a thin base of greens such as spinach or mixed greens.
If you wish to make this ahead of time you will have to keep the cucumber and watermelon separate until ready to serve or it becomes sloppy.
So watermelon is not just a “kid” food. It’s an “everybody” food. Start experimenting with watemelon…juicing it, purée and make into popsicles. Start adding it to your weekly food rotation. The benefits and the sweet taste will make you happy.