Ripe with benefits

Summertime watermelon offers benefits for your health
By Greg Seiter

For some, watermelons are a year-round fruit, but many Americans tend to think of them specifically as a summertime snack, often associated with cookouts and picnics. Their warm-weather appeal undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that they’ve composed of approximately 90% water, which can play a significant role in helping people stay hydrated.

Watermelons are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with cantaloupe, honeydew and cucumber. There are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini, yellow and orange.

Fight the good fight
Loaded with antioxidants that can aid the human body in combating and removing free radicals, watermelons are believed to help lower blood pressure, fight cancer, promote healthy digestion and intestinal regularity, reduce muscle soreness and even help athletes improve their post-exercise time.
According to the website, research shows that watermelon’s diuretic abilities may make it a natural option for those looking for relief from bodily fluid retention.

Dos and don’ts of picking
When buying a watermelon, buyers should look for one that is firm, heavy, symmetrical and without soft spots or bruising. Experts say tapping the melon’s exterior can give a clue as to the texture of the fruit inside. A light, almost hollow sound is preferred because it indicates the water and fruit is intact and has a stable structure.

From a visual perspective, melons that are elongated tend to be watery, while those with an orange-field spot tend to be flavorful. Conversely, a white-field spot is said to indicate a watermelon that has little taste. Those that are dark and dull most often seem to be ripe, while the ones that appear shiny are generally not ripe.

Diabetes dilemma
An important note also found on Watermelon is a fruit with natural sugar content. People with diabetes must account for these carbs in their daily meal plan. It is better to consume watermelon whole rather than as a juice. As juicing removes the fiber, making the sugar easier for the body to absorb. This may increase the risk of a glucose spike. Remember to watch portion sizes, as with all fruit and juices.