• Dr Xanthi Maragkoudaki

Watermelon love

There is no summer without watermelon!!! Personally I prefer watermelon to ice cream and this little lady agrees!

Watermelon is about 94% water but also high in nutrients. It is rich in lycopene (not the yellow ones) a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene intake has been linked with reduced prostate cancer rate. Consumption during pregnancy has resulted in reduced incidence of preeclampsia.

Supplementation with watermelon extract improved the circulatory system of middle aged obese adults. A cup of watermelon can provide almost 20% of the vitamin C and rich in beta-carotene 14% of Vitamin A daily requirements. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B1 and B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, choline, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid L-citrulline which has been shown to reduce muscle soreness in athletes. It does contain though 9 g of sugar per 100g so it needs to consumed in moderation. Some of its health benefits are due to its seeds so if you serve it as puree or juice or if the seeds are not a choking hazard, do eat them! You can eat it on its own (my favourite way with some mint leaves). You can freeze purée it in ice cube trays and serve it as granita dessert treat which is perfect for little ones! In Greece we eat it sometimes with feta cheese and in some countries they eat roasted or in pies! It is also worth looking at pictures watermelon boats for children's parties . Although I don't think it needs to be more appealing as I have not met one kid that does not like watermelon.

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