Water Down Your Cancer Risk With Watermelon
By Sola Ogundipe
Watermelon is a “wonder fruit” and the perfect example of food that can help you stay hydrated. The juice is full of good electrolytes, not only great on a hot day, but also helps to quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and even cancer.
Watermelon contains mostly water but the refreshing fruit is loaded with goodness. Each juicy bite is loaded with powerful nutrients. Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties.
Most of the most important antioxidants in nature, such as vitamin C (which boosts the immune system), vitamin A (which maintains eye health), and vitamin B6 (which augments brain function), are found in watermelon.
Two important anticancer agents, carotenoid and lycopene are are present in high quantities in watermelons. As a matter of fact, watermelon has the highest concentration of lycopene of any known fresh fruit or vegetable.
Lycopene is a phytonutrient, which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables that reacts with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. It is also the red pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas their colour. Scientists have taken notice of watermelon’s high lycopene levels.
Lycopene has been widely studied in humans and found to be protective against prostate, lung, colorectal, endometrial, and breast cancers. Lycopene has also been shown to help prevent heart disease. It has also been linked with heart health, bone health and prostate cancer prevention. It’s also a powerful antioxidant thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Watermelon’s high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower risk of heart disease. The lycopene in watermelon makes it an anti-inflammatory fruit. Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals.
To really maximize your lycopene intake, let your watermelon fully ripen. The redder your watermelon gets, the higher the concentration of lycopene becomes. Beta-carotene and phenolic antioxidant content also increase as the watermelon ripens. Nevertheless, all parts of the watermelon are good. There are a lot of nutrients throughout, including the white flesh nearest the rind.
Watermelons are rich in electrolytes (sodium and potassium), nourishing the body by not only replacing the electrolytes lost through sweat, but also by hydrating cells and maintaining the water balance. And because of the higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits, watermelon delivers more nutrients per calorie – an outstanding health benefit.
Try this great tip today. Cut a medium or large watermelon into small pieces and remove the seeds. Take about two cups of the diced watermelon and put into the blender. Add strawberries and some yogurt or milk and a little honey. If you want it a bit thicker, add a couple of bananas or avocado for added taste. Blend and enjoy!
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