Summer is just not summer without watermelon. This iconic picnic fruit is directly related to cucumbers, pumpkins and gourds, and besides containing a cool 92 percent water, watermelon also boasts a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy and happy all year-round. Here are five new ways to enjoy this refreshing fruit and keep your nutrition on point.
1. As a post-workout juice
Watermelon juice contains L-citrulline, an amino acid that has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery postworkout. It’s also reputed to increase nitrous-oxide levels, helping blood vessels expand and relax, thereby reducing blood pressure. To make your own relax-and-recover juice, blend 2 to 3 cups of watermelon chunks, then strain the mixture into a pitcher and serve over ice.
2. As a skin-saving salad
Watermelon is super high in vitamin C, which helps combat inflammation and oxidative damage. It also helps your body produce collagen for healthier skin and hair. Combine magnesium-rich watermelon with a cheese such as feta and the magnesium will facilitate the absorption of the calcium from the cheese — making bones stronger and providing a further boost to your immune system.
3. As an unexpected side
Though most people toss the rind, this part of the watermelon also contains lots of L-citrulline as well as a healthy dose of fiber to promote regularity and stave off intestinal diseases and cancers. Slice off the green peel and then use the firm white part like a vegetable: Shred it into a coleslaw, puree it with ripe tomatoes for gazpacho, slice and pickle it as a condiment or chutney, or dice it and use in a stir-fry.
4. As a frozen treat
Watermelon is mostly water and contributes more than its fair share to your daily hydration needs. And with only 42 calories per cup, it makes for a low-cal refreshing treat on hot summer days. Create the easiest frozen treat in the world: Slice the watermelon into wedges, cut off the rinds, punch a popsicle stick into the bottom of each wedge and freeze until solid.
5. As a snack (instead of as a projectile)
Take a break from your seed-spitting competition and eat your watermelon seeds as a snack. One ounce contains about 156 calories, 8 grams of protein and 16 milligrams of folate, which promotes a healthy cardiovascular system and helps your body convert food into energy. Toss seeds in olive oil and sea salt and roast at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Voilà! Instant snack.