- Soothe Sore Muscles - Watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation. A new study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, revealed that drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helps reduce athletes' heart rate and next-day muscle soreness—likely due to this L-citrulline.
- Improve Heart and Bone Health - Watermelon contains a plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene, along with the above-mentioned citrulline, improves cardiovascular health by causing vasodilatation, relaxing the blood vessels and improving blood flow and alleviating blood pressure. Lycopene also reduces oxidative stress, which normally reduces the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone cells involved in the development of osteoporosis), thus resulting in stronger bones. Watermelon is also rich in potassium, which helps retain calcium in your body and maintain strong bones and joints.
- Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Support - Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids. One of these carotenoids is the lycopene we mentioned above - it functions as an antioxidant, and is particularly beneficial in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. The tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E in watermelon provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, which normally lead to increased inflammatory support. Ripe watermelons have the highest content of these phenolic compounds.
- Hydration, Vitamins & Minerals - Watermelon is over 90% water, which makes it a great summer food for rehydrating. But just because it’s mostly water does not mean it doesn’t have valuable nutrients. A 10-ounce wedge of watermelon contains about 1/3 of the recommended daily value of vitamins A and C, as well as some potassium (about 9%). The nutrients help improve eye health, strengthen the immune system, support neurological function and heart health, promote wound healing, prevent cell damage, and help alkalize the body.
- Cancer Fighting - Watermelon is one of the best dietary sources of lycopene, even more than tomatoes! This antioxidant is linked to both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. Lycopene protects cell DNA from oxidative damage, thus reducing the risk of cancer cell development.
- 5 cups peeled and roughly chopped watermelon, plus 1 cup finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
- 1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
- 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced
Combine 5 cups watermelon and the cranberry juice in the jar of a blender, and puree until mixture is smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl or plastic storage container, discarding pulp. You should have 3 cups strained liquid.
Add cucumber, celery, bell pepper, onion, herbs, lime juice, vinegar, jalapeno, and remaining cup chopped melon to watermelon liquid, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until soup is well chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve, or store in refrigerator up to 1 day.