Add Slices of a Sloppy Sweet to Your Workout?
If you're thinking everything sweet must be bad for you, think again. Watermelon is a natural thirst quencher and diuretic that is about 92 percent water. Previous medical research has shown that the tasty red flesh is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, asthma attacks and colon cancer, as well as aid symptoms of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Now, in a new study published by the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, watermelon juice helped to reduce the recovery heart rate and muscle soreness when used as a workout drink for athletes. So, try munching on a few cubes or drink a glass of watermelon juice the next time you head to the gym or participate in your favorite sports event.
It would certainly be a mistake for you to ignore watermelon as a valuable source of hydration and important nutrients. In addition to the previously mentioned nutrients, watermelon has an impressive concentration of phenolic antioxidants, flavonoids, beta carotene, lycopene and citrulline which converts to a helpful amino acid called arginine. Tripterpenoid is another unique anti-inflammatory phytonutrient that has been shown to block activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes and neutralize reactive nitrogen-containing molecules. Overall, watermelon is quickly becoming known for its excellent nutrient richness and sweet-tooth-satisfying taste.
In the United States, we grow over four billion pounds of watermelon each year, and on average we eat over 15 pounds-per-person annually. Today there are many varieties, shapes and flesh colors available at grocery stores and farmer's markets. However, orange, yellow or white flesh watermelons typically contain less lycopene than the traditional red or pink varieties. Contrary to some sources of information, seedless varieties of watermelon are not genetically engineered. Instead, these convenient new additions are the result of excellent hybridization. If you do prefer a seeded melon, don't spit out the seeds. Watermelon seeds can be oven roasted and are a great source of iron, magnesium and copper. Just add them to your salad or a home-made trail mix for an added health benefit.
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