There are a few things I absolutely love about summer and one of them is that many of my favorite fruits are actually in season. Whether I am shopping at a local farmers market or my local grocery store, my favorite fruits and vegetables taste better because they are fresher and grown close by (usually).
This is especially true for watermelon, which is pretty easy to grow in the right conditions.
Though if you buy watermelon that is out of season or unripe….yuck. If you like watermelon, you know that feeling when you cut it open and it is pale pink with not a lot of “fresh watermelon” smell. So disappointing. On the other hand, if you leave it on your counter to ripen, it does have the potential to explode. It won’t cause any damage really, other than a big mess. Basically, the watermelon rots on the inside, which causes acetylene, a colorless, unstable gas, to form. Eventually, enough acetylene is produced and….poof, your beautiful taste of summer is…all over your kitchen. I discovered this the hard way…well, my husband did while I was out of town and had left a watermelon on the counter for him.
Now that your dose of science is out of the way for today, I’ll get back to skin and health. Watermelon is a fascinating because of its hydration properties. It is 92% water (named appropriately, right?) and rich in electrolytes…thus very hydrating for the skin and body and a great way to prevent dehydration in these hot, summer months. Drinking watermelon juice before a workout is a great way to stay hydrated and help to reduce sore muscles afterwards. Watermelon contains magnesium as well which is the key ingredient in epsom salt, which is often used to relieve sore muscles.
Separately, watermelon also contains antioxidants and Vitamins A and C, so it is great for eye health as well as for fighting free radicals and maintaining overall skin health! Vitamin A is GREAT for removing excess oil from the skin. Watermelon works as a natural toner and helps to give the skin a natural glow. It is also rich in antioxidant flavenoids (lycopene, beta carotene), carotenoids, and triterpenoids giving it wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and protection against UV rays. Lycopene gives watermelon its pink/reddish color and has antioxidant properties that help with blood pressure and boost immunity AND is lauded for its cancer protection attributes.
Another hidden benefit? Fighting acne! Applying a little bit of watermelon juice to breakouts and leaving it on for about 10-15 minutes is a great way to help reduce acne.
The watermelon rind, though often disregarded, contains many nutrients beneficial to the body on its own and is another good source of lycopene. So next time instead of disposing of the rind, try blending or mixing it with the rest of the watermelon and enjoy a healthy, refreshing juice! Finally, watermelons contain potassium and they are a natural diuretic so they aid in the health and function of the kidneys! Oh yeah, and it is low in calories (~30 calories per 100 grams), so eat or drink up!