Watermelon

Watermelon

WatermelonThe fruit which is green on the outside and red on the inside. Most people know watermelon to be the juicy fruit. This is true since 92 percent of a watermelon consists of water. This makes watermelons to be a perfect refreshing snack on a hot summer day. The fruit is also full of nutrients. This article will address the history of the fruit as well as the different health benefits it provides.

Description

The water content of a watermelon is incredibly high. This high water content gives the flesh of the fruit a juicy texture. The texture of the fruit is subtly crunchy. When the watermelon is too soft on the inside this usually means that the watermelon is going bad. Watermelons are a member of the cucurbitaceae family. Other vegetables which belong to the same family are cucumber, pumpkin and squash. Watermelons can have different shapes. They are usually round, but they can also be spherical or oblong. The green of the fruit is thick and the green rinds are usually striped. Besides the shape of the watermelon, the weight and size of the fruit can differ as well. For example, while some watermelons only weight two or three kilograms, others can weigh up to twenty kilograms. Most watermelons are green on the outside and are red on the inside. However, this does not always have to be the case. For example, watermelons also exist of which the flesh has a yellow, orange or white color. One of the many discussions regarding watermelons addresses the fact whether seedless watermelons are a result of genetic modification. However, this is not the case. Seedless watermelons can grow as a result of hybridization. This implies that when two different watermelons are crossed, the result will be a seedless watermelon. The seedless watermelons usually contain white seeds. However, these are not actual seeds but empty seed coats. Seedless watermelons are not common all over the world. In the United States, for example, almost 85 percent of the locally produced watermelons are seedless. In the rest of the world, it is not very common since farmers do not have access to the hybridization technique.

History

It is said that watermelons were first found in Africa thousands of years ago. After they had been discovered in Africa, they were transported to Asia. It is estimated that watermelons first arrived in Asia around 1000 AD. After their arrival in Asia and the Middle East, they were further transported to Europe. It is also estimated that it took 400 years for watermelons to arrive in Europe after they had been first transported to Asia. The fruit then continued to spread to North America and the United States. This was due to the colonization of North American by the Europeans. Currently, China is the number one watermelon producing country in the world. China’s watermelon production account for more than half of all the watermelon production in the world. Other countries which produce watermelons are Turkey, Brazil, Iran, various European countries and the United States. However, each of the abovementioned countries produces less than 5 percent of the world production of watermelons. The United States produces almost two billion kilograms of watermelon a year. On average each person in the United States eats about seven kilograms of watermelon each year. This is also dependent on where in the United States you live. While watermelons are produced in almost all states in the US, about 75 percent is produced in Indiana, Texas, Georgia, Florida and California.

Anti-inflammatory benefits

There are different nutrients present in watermelons which have anti-inflammatory properties. Some of these nutrients are carotenoids, triterpenoids and flavonoids. However, the most important nutrient which plays a crucial role in combating inflammation is lycopene. This nutrient has a high concentration in watermelons as well as guava and pink grapefruit. Most fruits which have a red or pink color get their color from flavonoids. Watermelons, on the other hand, get their color primarily from lycopene. The concentration of lycopene increases the longer the watermelon should ripe. Thus, when buying a watermelon, make sure it is optimally ripe. The section called “Select and Store” will provide some tips for buying watermelons and the things you should pay attention to. Lycopene is an important nutrient for combating inflammatory processes. For example, it is important for the production of pro-inflammatory messaging molecules. Lycopene is also known for being an antioxidant. This means that the nutrient has the ability to neutralize free radical molecules which could harm the body. Different researches have indicated that the lycopene content in watermelons usually remains very stable. Storing the fruit in a refrigerator also does not have an influence on the lycopene content. A study found that a decrease in the lycopene content only happens after seven days. It is, however, not recommended to wait a week before consuming the watermelon after it has been purchased.


Other health benefits

Besides the fact that watermelon is a rich source of lycopene, it also contains many other nutrients which provide health benefits. For example, watermelons are also a source of vitamin C. This vitamin is found in many other fruits and vegetables. One of the health benefits of vitamin C is that is helps to reduce the risks of asthma. Another health benefit of watermelons is that is can reduce blood pressure. A study which was published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon can help to reduce blood pressure as well as carotid wave reflection. The research specifically focused on middle-aged adults who were obese. This same research also found that watermelons can also improve the arterial function. Another health effect of watermelons is that it has a positive effect on the digestive system. Since watermelon has a high fiber and water content it can help to prevent constipation. At the same time, the fruit also promotes regularity of the digestive tract. Moreover, watermelon is full of electrolytes and more than 90 percent of the fruit is water. This implies that the fruit is a great snack during a hot summer day. Thus, it is recommended to eat watermelon when it is hot in order to prevent dehydration. Many people forget to drink water during hot days. It is therefore easy to replace water with watermelon.

How to select and store

Many supermarkets and vegetable stores offer watermelons. They either sell them as a whole, or they offer them in smaller pieces. This is especially the case when a watermelon is big in size. When buying watermelon which is already pre-cut, pay attention to the fact that the color is deep and it does not have any white streaking. When white streaking appears in the fruit, this usually means that it is not fresh and that it will most likely go bad within a couple of days. When buying a whole watermelon that are also a few points you should pay attention to. The first thing to evaluate when buying a watermelon is its weight. A watermelon which is fully ripened will be heavy. This is due to the fact that the water content increases along the ripening process. Thus, when you feel that the watermelon is heavy, it is a good sign and the fruit will be very juicy. The second point to consider when buying a watermelon is the top and the bottom of the fruit. The bottom of the watermelon is the spot on which it had been resting on the ground. This spot will give you information about whether the fruit is ripe or not. For example, when the spot is green or white, this means that the fruit is not fully ripe yet. When the watermelon is ripe, this spot should have a creamy yellow color. The top of the watermelon should be a bit dulled. When it is shiny this means that the fruit is not ripe yet. Usually the green color of the fruit will not give you any information about the ripeness of the fruit. This green color can have different shades. It can have a light or dark green shade.  If you want to know how the watermelon tastes, most shop owners are willing to cut you a piece of the fruit. In this way you can determine whether you like the taste of it. The best temperature for a watermelon to be stored at is between 10 and 16 degrees.

Various recipes with watermelon

While a watermelon can be used in various recipes, the best and healthiest way to eat is once it has been cut open and unmodified. The taste of watermelons is sweet and it is actually not needed for a dressing or so to be added to it, since it is already rich in flavor. You can cut different pieces of watermelon, combined with small pieces of kiwi and apple. Together you can mix them with plain yoghurt and you have created a perfect breakfast dish or a tasty dessert. In many Asian countries, it is common for watermelon seeds to be roasted. They are then seasoned and can be eaten as a snack. Sometimes the seeds are also added to bread. In South America, the rind of a watermelon is not thrown away, as happens in many countries. In South America, it is candied, pickled or marinated. It provides as a great and easy snack. Watermelon can also be used for a salad. You can mix them with small red onion rings, a bit of pepper and a bit of salt. This will provide for an easy summer salad. Watermelons are also great for a fruit salad. Mix them together with pieces of orange, kiwi, apple, strawberries and grapes. You can then add some yoghurt or ice cream to the fruitsalad, according to your personal preference.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1979x
Added: 30-09-2016 18:21
Last modified: 27-10-2016 14:33

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