For me, nothing tastes more like summer than fresh cut watermelon. It’s easily one of my favorite summer foods and brings back sweet (pun intended) childhood memories like fork fighting with my sister over the biggest, juiciest pieces, and seeing who could spit their seeds the farthest.
July is national watermelon month and I can’t think of more deserving summer fruit. Packed with water and phytonutrients that give it that beautiful red color, my favorite melon is shining bright this July. According to the Watermelon Board, 80% of Americans buy watermelon because it tastes good but less than half of those folks know much about the health benefits of watermelon (1).
If you fit into that statistic, well then, prepare to be informed! Watermelon is delicious and nutritious, so cut yourself another slice and pull up a chair.
It’s summer. Which means it’s hot and humid here in Arkansas. Appropriately named, watermelon, is 92% water, making it an easy food to quench your thirst this summer. Pack some up for the park, a hike, the lake, the pool, or anywhere you’re planning to work up a sweat or soak up some sun. Speaking of sun, that brings me to my next point.
Watermelon contains high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid that gives it its red color. Lycopene has been studied for various health benefits including possible roles in reducing the risk of heart disease and various cancers AND…protection to skin from harmful UV rays (2). As a redhead who loves watermelon, this is fantastic news to me! Lycopene levels in watermelon are higher than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, giving it the fun title of Lycopene Leader.
So, add another slice to your plate, throw some on your salad, or drop another piece in your smoothie! In addition to lycopene, you’ll be adding potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and for a 1 cup serving…only 45 calories.
While peak watermelon season is considered April to October, July is National Watermelon Month and August 3rd is national watermelon day! Next time you’re in the grocery store, find the perfect melon without dents or bruises, look for a creamy yellow belly (no need to thump it) and put it to your cart!
If you have questions like “How do I pick a good watermelon?” or “Why is my seedless watermelon full of white seeds?”, you can visit the Watermelon Board’s website for answers AND really more than you ever thought you needed to know about watermelon, from fun recipes to fun facts! (i.e. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.) Nature’s canteen sounds heavy to me! #wimp
Because watermelon is naturally sweet, there are millions of ways to serve it up deliciously. Here are a few of my favorites:
Bonus for my dietitian friends, check out the toolkit the Watermelon Board put together. It's full of awesome content, including recipes and cooking demonstrations.
Happy July, friends. Go enjoy the rest of your summer and share your favorite watermelon recipes with me! I would love to try them!
(1)2017 Watermelon Purchaser Survey, conducted by MyPoints.com, Inc, August 2017.