Although the summer has officially come to an end, there’s one summer food you shouldn’t forget about: watermelon. Not only is this fruit incredibly hydrating thanks to its high water content, but it has a plethora of nutrients that contribute to our overall health. Here’s a few examples of what this delicious and nutritious fruit can do for you.
Bone health: The lycopene in watermelon reduces oxidative stress in the body by improving bone cell function and allowing you to retain more calcium, which leads to stronger bones and joints.
Kidney Health: Watermelon is a natural diuretic, but unlike alcohol or caffeine, the natural compounds found in watermelon don’t put stress on your kidneys. In fact, they help process ammonia, which is waste from protein digestion, thus easing strain on the kidneys.
Muscle Health: Watermelons are full of potassium, which is an important electrolyte for athletes and active students alike. Potassium works in tandem with sodium to help our muscles contract, and without a good balance of these electrolytes, our muscles won’t function properly.
Waistline Health: I’m not kidding …watermelon has actually been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our cells, thanks to the presence of the amino acid citrulline in this amazing fruit. Citrulline is processed in the kidneys and can block the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase), which makes our fat cells create less fat and makes our tummies happier.
Eye Health: The beautiful red color of watermelon is caused by the compound beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in your body. This important vitamin helps to produce the pigments in the retina of your eye, allowing you to see in color. In addition to helping your sight, Vitamin A also maintains healthy skin and teeth.
Immune Health: In addition to Vitamin A, watermelon is also extremely high in Vitamin C. We all know how important Vitamin C is for our immune system, and now that the seasons are changing, we could all use a little immune system boost for the cold months ahead.
You can still pick up these amazing melons at the farmer’s market in downtown Dubuque on Saturday mornings or at any local Hy-Vee or other grocery store. Enjoy them before they’re gone for the season!