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Watermelon- The Global Fruit That Enhances Health Through Immense Nutrients.
A wild fruit that originated in the deep forests is one of the most globally consumed fruit is the watermelon. This fruit that has the high water content than any other fruits in the world believed to be the native of South African forests. Even today it is one of the prominent foods of several tribal communities in South Africa. There are several biblical references of water melon in the Old Testament and evidences show that it was widely cultivated in the Nile Valley of the ancient Egypt. Many of the voyagers and travelers introduced this fruit in many parts of the world and soon it became a popular food among people in different countries. Watermelon is classified in the genus citrullus family. Though botanists found them in the berry family of fruits termed as pepo, it is popularly considered in the melon family due its characteristics of melons. It has bright red colored juicy flesh inside with black seeds and thick smooth dark green exterior rind with commonly yellow stripes. The color of the internal flesh may vary from red to pink, orange, yellow or white depending on the variety or breed. It is estimated that more than 1200 varieties of watermelon are available in different parts of the world. Several countries produce different varieties of watermelon including China, Turkey, Iran, Brazil and United States. China is world’s biggest producer of this fruit today.
Water melon is consumed mostly in its raw form. Other than that it used as juice, syrups, shakes, smoothies, deserts and salads. The high water content and other essential nutrient possess several health benefits. It is an all time favorite food in summer season for quenching thirst. Many researches and studies are conducted on the nutritional content of this fruit. According to the nutrient data base of USDA it has very low calorie content of about 30 calories in 100 g fruit. It has highest water content of about 91.45g in 100 g. it has sugars and dietary fiber and have low fat and protein. It is enriched with wide range of vitamins including vitamin A, beta carotene, thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin b2, Niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, vitamin B6 choline and rich source of vitamin C. The minerals include iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc and Lycopene. Apart from the nutrient present in the flesh many studies have shown that the water melon rind is also enriched with various phytonutrients and could be used as vegetable. Mostly the rind is discarded due to its tastelessness.
The abundance of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients in watermelon gives several health benefits and many websites like health fame and USDA gives information regarding the health benefits of water melon. The watermelon is highly effective in preventing strokes and heart attacks and for the promotion of cardiovascular health due to the presence of arginine amino acid. The water content cleanses the kidney and urinary bladder and fights against urinary and kidney infections. It also prevents the kidney stone formation. The vitamin A and beta-carotene helps the eye health by improving the vision. The Lycopene has the healing power against minor infections and improves the complexion and skin texture and many skin care products contain watermelon extract as it’s a great skin cleanser and nourisher. It also act as a great skin refresher and prevents premature ageing by preventing the formation of wrinkles, lines and sagging of the skin. The low calories reduce the excess body weight and lower the cholesterol level. The potassium and magnesium reduce the blood pressure level. Water melon is good mouth refresher as it controls the odor causing bacteria in the mouth. The regular intake of water melon gives health benefits internally and externally than any other fruit.