• July 13, 2020

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT WATERMELON

There are so many health, skin and hair benefits of this most delicious food in the world –watermelon.  In case you don’t know, the perfect way to beat the heat after a cold bath is sipping on watermelon juice! Yeah! Watermelon is indeed the perfect food for beating the scorching heat. Even the mention of the fruit makes us feel refreshed, isn’t it?

Watermelon’s scientific name is Citrullus lanatus, it belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is related to plants like squash and pumpkin that grow as vines. It is a very large, smooth and oval to round-shaped fruit. The outer body of the fruit has solid green or till green skin with yellow stripes. The edible skin is pink to red in colour with lots of flat, oval black seeds.  I will talk extensively on the health benefit of the watermelon seed. Keep following Tessy Gold Makeover. Seedless varieties of the fruit are also available. Though the red flesh is the most common one, there are other varieties that have orange, yellow or white flesh. Watermelons are available all over the world throughout the year. But they are at their sweetest best in dry season (summer).

Besides being extremely delicious, the fruit quenches our thirst as well as re-boosts body with antioxidant lycopene and vitamins A and C.  (According to medical definition; Lycopene is a red pigment isomeric carotene that occurs in many ripe fruits as the tomato. It’s also said to be a red carotenoid found chiefly in blood, the reproductive organs, tomatoes, and palm oils. It is an antioxidant and is the parent substance from which all natural carotenoils are derived). They have a neutral flavour, tasting somewhat like light sugar syrup. This is because they contain 6% sugar and 92% water. Due to their high water content, they are great for preventing dehydration during dry season. The entire fruit comprising the inner rind which is light green or white in colour is highly nutritious. The inner rind is often used as vegetable and to prepare stews, fries, etc. As a very good source of vitamins C, A, B6, B1, magnesium and potassium and low in calories, the health benefits of watermelon are as follows.

Best substitute to Water:  Just as the name implies, watermelons are made up of 92 % water, which makes it the ideal snack to take on when you’re hungry instead of processed drinks. With hardly any calories, they soothe the dried throats and provide the much needed relief and revitalize your body. Knowing how annoying it is to drink water all through the day to hit the daily consumption goal, watermelon forms the prefect substitute for water. A good portion of it will hydrate you and the fruit sugars will provide you energy.

Energy Booster: Daily consumption of watermelon can boost energy by up to 23%. This is due to vitamin B6 which is used by the body to synthesize feel-good dopamine and magnesium which assist in the formation of adenosine triphosphate – a nucleotide that fuels cellular function for all-day energy.

Prevents dehydration, moisturizes and hydrates skin: Watermelon’s high water content hydrates your body, resulting in radiant skin. It’s rich in electrolytes sodium and potassium which we lose through perspiration. Consumption of watermelon helps reduces the risk of dehydration by replacing the body fluids with these electrolytes. Dehydration can make our skin appear dry and dull. If you have dry skin, you can apply watermelon with honey to keep it properly moisturized and hydrated. This fruit must also be included in your diet for a supple skin.

Removes excess oil from the skin: Watermelon is a very rich source of Vitamin which is vital to the health and vitality of our skin. It reduces the size of the skin pores and minimizes the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands. This juicy red fruit is a natural astringent that enhances the appearance of our skin by acting as a natural toner. For the best results, massage your skin with a fresh watermelon slice or blend it with honey. For oily skin, you can add hazelnut powder to watermelon juice extract and apply it on your face and neck to keep it well-hydrated.

Anti-aging: Watermelon contains Vitamin A and C and a rich source of antioxidants like lycopene. These are known to prevent cancer and also help in reducing the visible signs of aging. Now we know, a bowl of watermelons is the way to say bye- bye to free radicals in the body responsible for causing signs of ageing such wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. Watermelon can be applied on the skin topically and consumed too for getting the best results.

Anti-cancer properties: Despite being a fruit, watermelon contains twice the amount of lycopene found in vegetables like tomatoes. These compounds play an important role in protecting the cells from free radical damage, thus preventing breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer etc. As per research, the compounds in watermelon have been found to be effective in causing the programmed death in breast cancer cells.

Anti-inflammatory properties: Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids and triterpenoids. The carotenoid lycopene is particularly effective in reducing inflammation. This fruit also contains a tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E which provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes that normally cause increased inflammation. Athletes are often recommended to drink watermelon juice before a hard workout as it reduces their heart rate and next-day muscle-soreness.

Controls blood pressure: The potassium and manganese contained in watermelon work to regulate blood pressure. While the antioxidants helps to maintain the health of blood vessels to protect against sclerosis. This results in easing the movement of the passage of blood vessels, thereby reducing high blood pressure.

Cardiovascular health: A diet low in fat and cholesterol and rich in antioxidants is conducive to a healthy heart. Watermelon is rich in an antioxidant called citrulline compound. This helps in maintaining good levels of histidine-arginine. This is essential for the production of nitric acid which helps in maintaining the elasticity of the arteries and blood vessels by curbing the interactions of oxidative stress. Red watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants called lycopene which spreads throughout the body, thus neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are harmful as they oxidize cholesterol, enabling it to stick to blood vessel walls and thicken them, leading to heart attack and stroke.

Improves sleep: According to research, watermelon can improve sleep as it contains polysaccharide carbohydrates that can increase the body’s output of serotonin. Increased levels of serotonin at night make your brain less sensitive to disruptive stimuli such as noise during sleep. Consumption of few slices of this wonder fruit before dinner can extend the stages of deep sleep by nearly 27%.

Reduces fat: The citrulline found in watermelon can reduce the accumulation of fat in the fat cells. This amino acid gets converted into arginine when absorbed by the body. On being consumed, citrulline can block the activity of tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), thus causing less fat creation by the cells and preventing over-accumulation of body fat.

Alkaline affects: Consumption of fully-ripe watermelons has an alkaline effect on your body. Alkaline forming foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables greatly reduce the risk of developing disease and illness caused by high acid diet comprising of meat, eggs and dairy. Enough reasons to switch to eating fruits and vegetable. You can add vegetable to your stew.

To be continued next week…

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Theresa Moses

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Phone: +234-807-202-2024; E-mail: evertess2010@gmail.com; Instagram: evertess2010; LinkedIn: Theresa Moses; Twitter: @moses_theresa; Facebook: Theresa Moses

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