Wa­ter­melon is full of vi­ta­mins A and C

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - BAR­BARA QUINN

Us­ing mod­els of var­i­ous foods (we di­eti­tians al­ways play with our food), I asked a pa­tient to iden­tify which ones con­tained car­bo­hy­drates. When I held up a piece of fruit, she was sur­prised. “Fruit has car­bo­hy­drates?” Yep, from fruc­tose … fruit su­gar, I ex­plained. But that’s not a bad thing. Our bod­ies need carbs to fuel our mus­cles and brains.

“My favourite is wa­ter­melon,” she said. “Is that good?”

Very good. Here are a few rea­sons:

Wa­ter­melon pro­vides flu­ids. In fact, 92 per cent of this fruit is wa­ter, mak­ing it also low in calo­ries. Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle on this topic in the June is­sue of Food and Nu­tri­tion mag­a­zine, one mea­sur­ing cup of wa­ter­melon chunks has just 46 calo­ries plus a healthy dose of vi­ta­mins A and C — nu­tri­ents that strengthen our im­mune sys­tem and make our skin glow.

Wa­ter­melon has 40 per cent more ly­copene than raw toma­toes. Ly­copene is the pig­ment that gives wa­ter­melon (and toma­toes) their bright red colour. Ly­copene is a po­tent an­tiox­i­dant that may play a role in less­en­ing our risk for can­cer, heart dis­ease and an eye dis­ease called mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Wa­ter­melon has a small dose of potassium. So peo­ple who must avoid ex­ces­sive amounts of potassium in their di­ets (such as those with kid­ney dis­ease) can still en­joy wa­ter­melon. One cup of wa­ter­melon con­tains 170 mil­ligrams (mg) of potassium com­pared to 388 mg for the same amount of hon­ey­dew melon and 427 mg for can­taloupe. Potassium is es­sen­tial for many body pro­cesses and plays a crit­i­cal role in the con­trol of blood pres­sure.

You can eat wa­ter­melon rind. Like the skin of its cu­cum­ber cousin, the green and white lay­ers that sur­round wa­ter­melon’s sweet flesh is ed­i­ble. Most recipes are for pick­led rinds, how­ever, so watch out for ex­tra su­gar and salt in these prod­ucts.

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