Nothing Says Summer Like Watermelon
Subtly crunchy and always thirst quenching watermelon is a sure sign of summer. As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, the watermelon is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin. Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. Sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source ofvitamin A and beta-carotene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage. Free radicals can oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or stroke. They can add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close. Fortunately, vitamin C and beta-carotene are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damage they would otherwise cause. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the DV for vitamin A.