Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Scientific name: Citrullus lanatus


Watermelon is a succulent fruit made of about 93% water and is subtly crunchy. It can be round, spherical or cylindrical in shape with thick light to dark green skin that is sometimes striped. The red flesh is dotted with black seeds that are somewhat flattened. The plant is a scrambler and trailer flowering plant that bore yellow flowers.

It is native to Africa, cultivated in Egypt & India and eventually spread over time to Europe, North America and Asia.

Watermelon is related to cucumber, cantaloupe, gourd, squash and pumpkin.  It ranges in size from a few pounds to even about 90 pounds and has more than 1200 different varieties, however, all of these varieties belong to  Citrullis lanatus species. The flesh can be yellow ( Yellow Crimson) red (Carolina cross), orange (Orangeglo) or white (Cream of Saskatwchewan).

Parts used: Fruit (rind, flesh & seeds)

Health benefits:

Watermelon is rich in phenolic antioxidants like flavonoids, lycopene(carotenoids) and triterpenoids(Cucurbitacin E) which makes this fruit a good source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that is beneficial to the cardiovascular health as well as to our bones.

This fruit is also rich in citrulline which is an amino acid that is converted into arginine which helps improve the blood flow.

Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C, Vitamin A (beta-carotene, a free-radical scavenger), potassium and magnesium. It also contains Vitamins E, D, B complex vitamins and minerals like calcium,iron, flouride, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

The watermelon seeds are dried, roasted, seasoned and eaten as a snack.  It can also be grounded up into cereal or made into flour to make bread. The seeds contain iron and zinc.

The watermelon rind also contains some nutrients and is cooked as a vegetable or pickled.

Another benefit of eating watermelon is that it makes your body alkaline. A body that is acidic is prone to sickness while an alkaline body promotes balance and wellness.

Medicinal properties:

1. Good for the Heart

As mentioned, watermelon is a rich source of lycopene which is an antioxidant that helps fight free radical compounds.  Lycopene specifically protect the blood vessels and arteries from hardening.
To maintain a healthy heart needs to follow a diet lows in fat, cholesterol, and rich in antioxidants such as (lycopene), which works to fight free radical compounds. Thereby protecting the vessels and arteries from hardening.  There are more lycopene found in watermelon that in tomatoes.

2. Controls blood pressure

Watermelon is an excellent source of potassium and manganese which aids in blood pressure regulation.

3. Reduces weight

Eating watermelon is filling yet it is low calorie and consist mostly of water along with tons of nutrients.

4. Anti-Cancer

Watermelon is rich in antioxidants such as the above mentioned lycopene, citrulline compound, vitamin A(beta-carotene), vitamin C and vitamin E. These compounds play an active role fighting cancer such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.  It protects the cells from free radicals damage, fights cancer cells and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels.

5. Good for eyesight

Because of its lycopene, vitamin A and betacarotene content which helps promote good eyesight.

6. Fatigue and muscle soreness

The high levels of citrulline found in watermelon helps relieve the soreness and regulate the vascular tone.

7. Fight Infections
Because watermelons are rich in vitamins and minerals, it helps the immune system and treats infections in the body as well as inflammation of the joints/arthritis.

8. Good for the Kidneys

Watermelons are diuretic. The rich potassium content also helps reduce uric acid, removes salt deposits and prevents kidney stones.