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Watermelon – King of Cyprus

By Janice Ruffle

Juicy slices of watermelon are the quintessential summer snack. Not only is it refreshingly delicious, it’s also very good for our health, according to Barbara Karafokas, nutritional expert.

She is also the author of ‘The Med Life Diet’: A beginner’s guide to creating healthy eating, healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes.

“The health benefits of watermelon are numerous and include the prevention of kidney disorders, high blood pressure, the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, heat stroke, macular degeneration and impotence,” says Karafokas.

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Watermelons have significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fibre, protein, and a very large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin (B3), thiamine (B1), and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.

Lycopene has antioxidant properties and has been claimed to promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of cancer. And this healthy fruit option is among the best dietary sources of lycopene.

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes’ heart rate and next-day muscle soreness.

That’s because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.

Watermelon fasts help cleanse your kidneys and the rest of your system as well. Regular consumption of watermelon can help keep kidney stones away.

However, please note this warning: do not do a watermelon fast if you are diabetic or if you suffer from any sort of kidney disease.

Hardly surprising in the height of summer that we are attracted to this fleshy colourful fruit, for its effect in reducing both body temperature and blood pressure.

Interesting to note is that many people in tropical regions eat this fruit every day during the summer to protect themselves from heat stroke.

The high amount of water contained stimulates a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.

Chew the seeds!

No more picking the seeds out, chew them! They are especially packed with nutrients including fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium and copper.

So next time you tuck into a giant slice of this bright-red fleshy fruit, you can feel refreshed as well as full of life. Better still, there’s no more picking the seeds out! Although, I would avoid any form of seed consumption for the very young.

For me, eating watermelon has a ‘feel-good factor’ and don’t you just love that characteristic crack when you cut it to reveal bright-red aromatic pieces?

Sadly, with the end of August upon us, the King fruit will be scarce, as it’s the end of the season. But it will return in May for another bumper season to refresh and nourish us!

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