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The Many Health Benefits of Watermelon + a Summertime Recipe

watermelon
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Summertime is here, and staying healthy should be a top priority, especially under Florida’s hot, summer sun. We all know that fruits are generally healthy and hydrating. However, what if you were told that eating a certain fruit has benefits such as luscious skin, anti-inflammatory properties and regulation of your heart? The many benefits of watermelon are amazing.

What Are the Health Benefits?

This refreshing fruit has high levels of vitamins, including vitamins A, B6 and C. Vitamin A is a fancy word for retinol and is important for development and vision. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient that aids in metabolism and produces neurotransmitters along with red blood cells. Lastly, vitamin C has many important functions for the body, but the most prevalent include fighting sickness, protecting cells and maintaining healthy skin.

Lycopene is the antioxidant responsible for the fruit’s bright red inside. Watermelon contains about 15 to 20 milligrams of this antioxidant per 2-cup serving, allowing it to have one of the highest levels of lycopene compared to any type of fresh produce. Aside from making the fruit infamous for its color, this plant nutrient has also been proven to balance free radical levels in the body. Free radicals create oxidative stress in the body when surpassing antioxidant levels, and the stress, as a result, is connected to diseases ranging from asthma and diabetes to cancer and Alzheimers disease.

Combat Dehydration

Have you ever felt weak or extremely tired and couldn’t quite get to the bottom of that feeling? This often ends up being a case of dehydration. While drinking a good amount of water suffices this, an even more delicious way to hydrate yourself can be by munching on some watermelon. This fruit is 92% of water, doubling as a yummy snack and source of hydration. Moving into a healthy summer, it’s nice to note that watermelon is not only fat-free, but contains around 40 calories per serving. On top of that, the fruit is also low in sodium. Meaning, you can swim around the pool all day without feeling bloated or tired, all while staying nice and hydrated.

Watermelon Italian Ice

Courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board

When it’s hot outside, whip up this easy recipe for the whole family to enjoy.

Ingredients:

-4 cups chopped watermelon
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 teaspoons lemon zest
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-Mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a shallow pan and place in freezer. When the liquid is almost frozen (about 1 ½ to 2 hours), remove from freezer, scoop into blender and gently blend or place in a large bowl and whip for about 1 to 2 minutes. Place in 4 serving bowls and return to the freezer for ½ hour or longer. Remove from freezer and let sit for 10 minutes, then serve (with a garnish of mint leaves if you like).

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Written by Alina Hoarau

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