Watermelon, Packs More Than We Think!
Before we discuss the full value of watermelon, let's look at just how much water and sugar it contains. One cup of diced watermelon is about 90% water, and contains 50 calories (doesn't sound too bad to me). 44 of these calories do come from sugar, but let me say that this is a natural, healthy fruit sugar. If we remember our "Sugar, Not an Enemy" tip, we will remember that sugar is vital for our energy, and it feeds our brain. Along with water and sugar, watermelon has vitamin C and our cup has less than 1 g of fat, with no cholesterol.
What else does watermelon have? Watermelon contains the phytochemical lycopene, one of our colorful disease preventing cartenoids! This time if we remember our "Tomato, a Superstar" tip, tomato was the leading source of lycopene when cooked (so much for the raw diet all the time?). Lycopene appears to be released from the plant cell wall and used by our body (bioavailable) when sources such as the tomato are cooked. Unfortunately, we don't always eat tomato sauce, or heat processed tomato juice, do we? Now, a new study has shown that raw watermelon unlike the raw tomato, is a source of bioavailable lycopene! More about this Press Release from the USDA research agency titled "Watermelon Shows its Lycopene Stripes" appears in the June 2002 Agricultural Research Magazine. Here's just a small quote about how much lycopene watermelon contains from the USDA research team :
"Watermelon is fat free and is a source of vitamins A, B6, C, and thiamin. Studies have shown that a cup and a half of watermelon contains about 9 to 13 milligrams of lycopene. On average, watermelon has about 40 percent more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Red, ripe flesh is the best indicator of the sweetest and most nutritious watermelon, though it's hard to choose the ripest melon when it's uncut".
Do we need a quick refresher on the disease fighting merits of lycopene? Well, studies indicate that lycopene protects against cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer most notably prostate with some studies showing protective properties against breast, endometrium and lung cancers as well.
So, Watermelon definitely packs more than water and sugar. It packs a lot of Lycopene even when it's raw!
A cup of watermelon anyone? June www.junefit.com
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