Monday, February 27, 2006

WaterMelon - Nutrition and Body Coolant

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing slice of icy-cold watermelon on a hot summer day. Watermelon's botanical name is Citrullus lanatus and belongs to the family Curcurbitacae and is related to cucumber family.

Watermelon is an ideal health food because it is 92% water, doesn't contain any fat or cholesterol, and is a great source of vitamins A, B 6 and beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division and cell differentiation, which is the process by which a cell decides what it is going to become. Vitamin A also helps maintain the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes that function as a barrier to bacteria and viruses and helps regulate the immune system. Vitamin A helps your eyes see normally in the dark. Lycopene is thought to have powerful antioxidant capabilities that may help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Found only in a few red plant foods like tomatoes and watermelon, lycopene, like vitamin C, neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals. Provides potassium: Watermelon, like most fruits and vegetables, is a good source of potassium. Foods high in potassium seem to help protect against high blood pressure. Potassium also helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells, aids in muscle contraction and helps transmit nerve impulses. Its very low in cholestral and helps you watch your weight!!!. Water Melon is ofcourse the favourite fruit of all weight watchers. It helps control Blood pressure and also lowers the risk of stokes.

Choosing the perfect melon is easy, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board. First, choose one that is symmetrical and firm, without bruises, cuts or dents. Next, pick it up. You’re looking for one that is heavy for its size. Finally, turn it over. If you see a yellow area, the watermelon rested on the ground while it ripened in the sun, which means you’ll get a sweeter, juicer melon. Contrary to popular belief, don’t thump your melon – slap it. If it sounds hollow, it’s ripe.

There are over 50 different types of watermelons, but two main varieties: Picnic and ice box. Picnic watermelons are generally oblong and weight from 12 to 50 pounds. Ice box varieties are smaller because they’re designed to fit into a refrigerator.

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