Mark Twain said, “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” So when’s the last time you indulged in this heavenly fruit? If it’s been a while, make sure to stock up in time for National Watermelon Day, which falls on August 3 this year.
“National Watermelon Day is a chance for everyone, everywhere to appreciate and share their love for watermelon,” says Stephanie Barlow, senior director of communications at the Watermelon Board. “Whether shared around a pool or picnic table this summer, watermelon evokes happiness, healthiness, family and fun.”
More Than Just a Summertime Sweet
Sure, watermelon is a refreshing treat during pool parties and barbecues, but there are many reasons to enjoy this fruit beyond festive outdoor gatherings. According to the Watermelon Board, it’s packed with health benefits, which include the following:
- Vitamin A. Important for optimal eye health, vitamin A boosts immunity by enhancing the infection-fighting actions of white blood cells.
- Vitamin B6. This B vitamin helps the immune system produce antibodies, which are needed to fight many diseases. Vitamin B6 also helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells. Finally, the body uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins — so the more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.
- Vitamin C. Help bolster your immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses with vitamin C. This vitamin also can protect the body from harmful free radicals that can accelerate aging and conditions such as cataracts.
- Potassium. A 2-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral found inside every cell and necessary for water balance. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. After a tough workout, grab some watermelon because this electrolyte will help with replenishment and recovery.
- Lycopene. This antioxidant, which gives watermelon its red color, is important for protection against free radicals, and it has been studied for protection against harmful UV sun rays.
- Citrulline. Watermelon is a heart-healthy choice thanks to its citrulline content, an amino acid that helps blood flow.
- Hydration. At 92 percent water, you can’t spell watermelon without water. It’s one of the most hydrating foods you can eat, which is especially helpful during these hot summer months.
- Low calorie. Watermelon is a guilt-free sweet treat at only 80 calories per 2-cup serving.
5 Refreshing Recipes
When visiting your local farmers market or grocery store, look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that’s free from bruises, cuts or dents. When you lift it up, it should feel heavy for its size and should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. Now that you’ve picked your perfect melon, you could just cut it up and eat it straight from the rind. Or try using it in one of the following recipes: