Watermelon Health Benefits
Sure you knew it tastes good, but did you realize it’s a really good health food?
The History of Watermelon
The first reference to watermelons was discovered in ancient hieroglyphics on the walls of Egyptian buildings. Watermelon is thought to have originated there in the Kalahari Desert of Africa some 5,000 years ago. They were often placed in the burial tombs of kings.
Later watermelon made its way on merchant ships into countries along the Mediterranean Sea, then later into China. By the 13th century watermelon spread through Europe, and later made it’s way to the US on slave ships coming from Africa.
Today watermelons are grown commercially in almost 100 countries. China, Turkey, Iran and the US are top producers, with California, Florida, Georgia and Texas being the top producing states in the latter.
This scrumptious food is related to the cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin and other vining plants. There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelon, with about 50 varieties most commonly grown in the United States and Mexico. The top favorites fall into four general categories: Allsweet, IceBox, Seedless and Yellow Flesh.
What Gives Watermelon Health Benefits?
Lycopene! Just like tomatoes, watermelons are full of lycopene. This is supposed to help prevent colorectal and prostate cancers. They also have a lot of good-for-you beta-carotene.
So slice off a hunk and eat it, put melon cubes or balls in fruit salads, make cubes of juice to add to drinks, or puree it into soup. Or you could even combine it with feta cheese, a sweet and salt combination often enjoyed in Israel and Egypt.
However you like it best, eat that watermelon. It’s a summer time treat that’s also a great health food, even making it to the Superfoods List!