Watermelon Dectective

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					Watermelon Dectective
If you've been keeping up with the latest in health news, you may have
seen a few articles reporting that watermelon is more nutritious when
served at room temperature. Personally, I prefer my watermelon ice cold,
so I was a bit dismayed when I heard about this. After all, that's one of
the joys of these sweltering summer days...a juicy, deep red, icy cold
slice of my favorite fruit. The thought of eating watermelon at room
temperature is well...a little less than appetizing.
I did a little sleuthing by taking a look at the study behind these
headlines. Turns out that watermelons continue to produce more lycopene
and beta-carotene even after they are picked, as long as they are stored
at room temperature. Lycopene, as you may know, is a powerful anti-
oxidant that gives watermelon (and tomatoes) that beautiful red color and
also plays a role in preventing heart disease as well as some cancers.
Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A.
The study, completed by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists and
published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that
whole watermelons, when stored at 70 degrees, had substantially more of
these nutrients than melons that had been freshly picked or that had been
stored at cooler temperatures.
When compared to freshly picked melons, whole watermelons that had been
stored at 70 degrees (the temperature of an air-conditioned building) for
14 days, gained up to 40 percent more lycopene and a whopping 50 percent
more beta-carotene.
Watermelon is a great summer food. True to its name, this favorite summer
fruit is 92% water and two cups (a 1-inch half moon slice) contain only
80 calories. Watermelon is also loaded with potassium and is very low in
sodium. Of course, watermelon contains no cholesterol or fat.
Tip from your Wellness Coach: Go ahead and enjoy your watermelon ice
cold! Store whole watermelons up to 2 weeks at room temperature, rather
than your refrigerator, before eating. Chill just prior to serving, so
you don't lose out on any of those great nutrients watermelon has to
offer. Look for watermelons that are free of damage (cuts, bruises,
cracks or dents). The yellow, flat place on one side of the melon is
perfectly normal, as this was the part of the melon that had contact with
the ground as the melon was ripening on the vine. Rinse the melon well
before cutting, as your knife could drag dirt and germs into the fruit.
Happy eating!
Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D., is executive producer of the beautiful and
relaxing Flash movie, Lessons from Water. See it at:
http://www.LessonsfromWater.com or visit our website at

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