Biting into a piece of watermelon is so refreshing, especially during the hot summer days! Watermelon is large edible fruit with a hard rind and a soft and mushy flesh. Usually, the flesh of a watermelon is filled with lots of black seeds, although in the recent years you can find “seedless” strains with smaller digestible white seeds. The seedless strain was firstly developed by Japanese scientists in 1939, but they weren’t popular because of their insufficient disease resistance. But “seedless” watermelons grew in popularity in the 21st century, when their popularity skyrocketed by nearly 85% of total watermelon sales in the United States in 2014.
Watermelon is mostly water, 91% of water to be exact. That’s why we frequently run to the toilet after a watermelon feast. But, don’t be fooled by this large and sweet fruit. Even though watermelon is mostly water, it is filled with nutrients. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, lycopene, vitamin A vitamin B6, vitamin B1, and magnesium. It is a low-calorie snack, but very satiating because of the high amount of water and dietary fibers.
Some of the benefits of Watermelon:
1. Very hydrating
As we mentioned, watermelon is mostly water therefore by eating watermelon we are helping our body to reach the recommended amount of daily water intake, especially during the hot and sweaty summer days.
Two cups of watermelon contain 4% of the recommended daily fiber intake. Fibers are important in digestion and encourage a healthy and regular bowel movement.
3. Cancer prevention
Lycopene is bright red carotenoid pigment primary found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables including watermelons. Lycopene has been linked to reducing cancer, especially prostate cancer cell proliferation according to the National Cancer Institute.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
Watermelon contains choline, an essential water soluble nutrient. According to an article published in 2006 in Shock medical journal, choline reduces inflammation by suppressing the inflammatory responses.
5. Heart health
Lycopene showed to be very effective in reducing cell degeneration and may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases according to a study from Purdue University.
The American Journal of Hypertension published a study which suggests that watermelon supplementation reduces high blood pressure in overweight adults.
7. Reduces muscle cramps
Watermelon contains potassium and magnesium, minerals which are important for water balance. Low potassium or/and magnesium levels may cause muscle cramps.
Watermelon Rind – Unexpected benefits?
I love the juicy flavor of watermelon and enjoy it on most summer days. But I never paid attention to its rind and it always ended in the trash. We consider ourselves to be frugal family and we try to waste as much food as possible. My husband is more frugal than me, I must admit, therefore he always cuts the watermelon as close as possible to the outer green skin. I and the kids don’t like the tasteless white part from the rind on our red juicy sweet watermelon and we always protest when my husband tries to get the most out of the watermelon. Trying to prove us wrong, he did a bit of research and found out that the rind of a watermelon is really healthy, possibly even healthier than the watermelon itself.
Yes, I know, the white part of the rind is a bit dull, but it is filled with nutrients, even in higher amounts than the red mushy watermelon flesh. It contains considerable amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B6, and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Remember what we said above about the muscle cramps? The watermelon rind is a muscle cramp killer. It also contains a greater amount of lycopene which prevents prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases as mentioned above.
But we didn’t mention citrulline above and with a good reason. Watermelon rind contains more citrulline than the red flesh. Citrulline is an important amino acid which is converted into arginine in the kidneys. Arginine plays an important role in the immune system and heart health. Drinking watermelon juice before and intensive workout regimen resulted in a reduced muscle-soreness and heart rate the next day, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. So pump up those muscles, but drink your watermelon juice including the rind too!
The rind also contains water and fibers so make sure you include them in your smoothies for a nice detox.
If you want to consume the watermelon rind, please make sure you wash the watermelon before cutting it using warm water and a brush. Then remove the outer green skin from the rind and throw it away. We know that the watermelon rind is a bit tasteless, so here are some recipes that will make it easier for you to include it in your daily diet.
Watermelon rind delicious recipes:
Watermelon rind smoothie
You will need:
- 2.5 cups of water
- 3-4 cups watermelon rind
- 1 apple
- 2 cups frozen mango cubes
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of Agave syrup or Honey
- 1 cup frozen cherries or strawberries
Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Watermelon rind jam
This brings amazing memories. My grandmother used to make watermelon rind jam and it is amazing on a piece of toast or a biscuit. This is an old, classic recipe for a watermelon rind jam that I picked up from my neighbor.
You will need:
- 4 pounds chopped watermelon rind
- 8 cups of water
As mentioned above, If you want to use the watermelon rind, you need to remove the outer green part. Peel the watermelon rind and cut it into 1,5-2 inch pieces. Mix the gallon of water with the 1/2 cup of salt and soak the rind in this solution. Leave it overnight.
The next day, remove the rind from the solution and place it in a large pot with clean water (enough to cover it). Bring the water to boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the rind becomes soft. Drain.
In a large pot mix the 8 cups of water with the 8 cups of sugar and the lemons. Put the cinnamon stick pieces and the cloves in gauze or a cheese cloth, tie them and put them in the pot too. Bring the mixture to boil, boil for about 5 minutes, then add the rinds and cook until they become transparent. Remove the gauze with the spices. Put the jam into clean jars and seal. Enjoy!