Goa’s Bounty : Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)
A refreshing slice of watermelon on a hot summer day is not only delicious, but extremely healthy as well. One hundred grams of watermelon contains 16 kilocalories. It comprises of 92% water by weight, and is an excellent low calorie food choice that is both healthy and hydrating.
Watermelon is very rich in beta-carotene and thus a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is required for healthy eyesight. Another vitamin that is abundant in watermelons is vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. Both vitamin A and vitamin C help protect the body from free radical damage, thus warding off diseases like cancer and arthritis.
The red or pink hue of watermelon pulp is due to a compound called Lycopene, which is generally associated with tomatoes. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant, and helps lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Watermelon is one of the richest sources of Lycopene.
Watermelons also provide significant amounts of Vitamin B1 and B6. Vitamin B1 or Thiamine helps maintain electrolytes and nerve cell transmission and vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for energy production.
Watermelon is also an abundant source of minerals like potassium and magnesium. Potassium is necessary for cardiovascular health. It helps regulate blood pressure. Magnesium is involved in various cellular metabolic functions in the body. Watermelon is also a primary source of Citrulline amongst fruits and vegetable. Citrulline is converted to the amino acid Arginine in the body and has a number of health benefits.
Whether you choose to have watermelon for its health benefits or simply for its flavour, it is an excellent choice when the mercury starts to rise!