I remember watermelons being typical treat during summer picnics. My parents would just eat the sweet chinks of watermelon and then spit the pits, while I took enough time to remove them before enjoying in the sweetness and coldness of this summer treat. Now, we also eat seedless watermelons indoors.
However, watermelons are not just a treat. They are incredibly healthy, and their flesh and rind have been used in the traditional Chinese medicine for the preparation of various herbal extracts for treating over heat in one’s blood or organs. But this isn’t a fever.
Chinese acupuncturists and practitioners can determine if one has too much internal heat by doing a pulse reading, even if the thermometer shows only 98.6 Fahrenheit.
When we have excess internal heat we are prone to other problems, like inflammation, which causes chronic autoimmune diseases.
Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon
All red fruits and vegetables are rich in beta carotene and lycopene. Lycopene helps prevent prostate cancer, and some other cancer types as well. It also helps in the treatment of fatty liver in both, males and females.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant, and possesses potent anticancer properties. According to a Chinese study, women who consumed a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, had reduced risk of breast cancer.
But watermelon is sweet, so what about the sugar spikes? According to a Danish research conducted on 63 people (both, men and women) recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the well-known medical belief that diabetics and pre-diabetics with metabolic disorder or high blood pressure should eat less fruit is completely wrong. The researchers explain that eating less fruit showed no effect on weight loss, *HbA1c, or waist circumference. They believe that type 2 diabetics should not restrict their intake of fruit (1).
* Glycated hemoglobin is measured with HbAlc testing to identify the average plasma glucose concentration in a 3-month period.
According to some other studies, watermelon can actually prevent metabolic disorders leading to type 2 diabetes. Several researches show that L-arginine and L-citrulline in watermelon can prevent endothelial dysfunction, which decreases the flexibility of blood vessels, and their ability to dilate when needed. Overall, watermelon can improve the cardiovascular health.
Watermelon pits on the other hand are high in protein, so you can stop bothering yourself to remove them when eating this sweet treat. Also, you can collect and grind them.
How to Choose a Good Watermelon
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranks conventionally grown watermelon on number 32 out of 48 fruits and veggies’ pesticide residues. So, although not too bad, it still not in their clean top 15.
However, the exterior spraying can’t penetrate the rinds, so the interior of the watermelon, the meat, is relatively free from pesticides. The always better option are the organic watermelons, of course, if your budget allows it. Regardless if you purchase seeded (more nutritious that seedless), seedless, or organic, there’s one way to help choose a good watermelon with nice red meat inside. It’s the sound you hear when you slap or knock the watermelon.
You may need to hold one ear close to the watermelon while knocking or tapping it with the other hand. A watermelon which is probably not good and it’s too mushy will give a thunky sound with no ding or ping. On the contrary, a watermelon with good taste and texture should give a vibrant hollow response.