Featured Ingredient

The Refreshing Qualities of Watermelon

By Maddy Davis, RD & Jenna Quave

Watermelon—what better fruit to highlight during the summer months? It provides hydration, antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and is very convenient. Let’s take a closer look at some of the attributes that make watermelon so fantastic.

Hydration

Watermelon is 92 to 96 percent water, so it’s great for helping you stay hydrated on a hot summer day or getting you rehydrated after a strenuous workout. Watermelon earns a spot as one of the top ten most hydrating solid foods.

Antioxidants

Watermelon is one of the leading food sources of lycopene, the pigment that gives watermelon its bright red color. Research suggests that lycopene is a cancer-prohibiting antioxidant that may also reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, lycopene helps protect our skin from UV rays. Thankfully, watermelon is in peak season from May through August, when most of us are outdoors and need extra lycopene!

Vitamins

Consuming raw watermelon can support the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins C, A, and B6.  Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin—along with Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin—help keep your eyesight, immune system, and skin healthy. Vitamin B6 is responsible for normal blood-cell formation.

Fiber

Incorporating watermelon into your diet is also excellent because it contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber assists in keeping one fuller longer, slows down sugar absorption, and helps the digestive system become more well-regulated.

Convenience

Convenience is the key to our busy lives! Watermelon is a great “grab and go” post-workout snack or a scrumptious addition to your picnic basket. You can freeze watermelon slices to make popsicles, dice it along with feta cheese and tomatoes to make a cool salad, or scoop it into balls and combine with blueberries to make a midday snack.

Some Ways To Incorporate Watermelon into Your Diet

There are lots of  ways to enjoy watermelon. Here are just a few:

Fruit Bowl - Cut off the top of the watermelon and then scoop out the flesh. Chop the flesh into small 1x1-inch pieces and mix with other fruit of your choice. Put all of the fruit into the hollowed-out watermelon and serve.

Grilled Watermelon - Brush watermelon slices with some olive oil and grill them on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Watermelon Smoothie - In a blender, combine strawberries (fresh or frozen), watermelon, half a banana, the juice of one lime, and a base of your choice (such as unsweetened almond, coconut, or regular milk). Combine with a bit of ice, blend until smooth, and serve!

For more great ideas on ways to enjoy watermelon, click here.