Watermelon | What is Watermelon Fruit | what are the Health Benefits of Watermelon Fruit and its Juices| Varieties of Watermelon Fruit | Nutritional Value of Watermelon Fruit
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai, family Cucurbitaceae) can be both the fruit and the plant of a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) herb originally from southern Africa and one of the most common types of melon. This flowering plant produces a special type of fruit known by botanists as a pepo, a berry, which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp); pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae.
The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis).
The fruit has smooth, deep green or yellow colored thick exterior rind with light green or gray colored vertical stripes on the outer surface. Internally, the fruit has juicy, pink or red or yellow flesh with numerous small black color seeds embedded in the middle third of the flesh. They have neutral flavor and taste wise are sweet like sugar syrup with very high content.
Varieties of Watermelon Fruit:
Different varieties of watermelon-fruits are cultivated, featuring variation in size, shape and color of the flesh (red, orange, and yellow in color).
* The Moon and Stars Variety: This variety is one of the oldest known varieties, and has been cultivated since the 1930′s. These watermelons are purple/black from the outside, having yellow circles. The weight of an average watermelon of this variety ranges from 9-23 kgs. The flesh is pink or red and it has brown seeds. This variety is ready for harvest in about 90 days from its day of plantation.
* Yellow Watermelon: This watermelon variety derives its name from the colour of its pulp, which is yellow in colour. It is sweeter than all the other varieties and has a distinct honey like flavour.
* Orangeglo: Orangeglos’ are a watermelon variety, which have an orange pulp. They are large in size,have an oblong shape and an average fruit weighs about 9-14 kgs.
* Cream of Saskatchewan: They are a small round variety, which are around 10 inches in diameter. The rind of this variety is thin and is usually light green with dark green stripes. It has a sweet white flesh with black seeds. These melons take about 80-85 days to become ready for harvesting.
* Melitopolski: This variety comes from the Volga River region of Russia, and has small round fruits of 28-30 cms in diameter. This variety of watermelons ripens early and takes 95 days from plantation to harvest.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon Fruit:
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||127 kJ (30 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||0.4 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||28 μg (3%)|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.033 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.021 mg (1%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.178 mg (1%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.221 mg (4%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.045 mg (3%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||3 μg (1%)|
|Vitamin C||8.1 mg (14%)|
|Calcium||7 mg (1%)|
|Iron||0.24 mg (2%)|
|Magnesium||10 mg (3%|
|Phosphorus||11 mg (2%)|
|Potassium||112 mg (2%)|
|Zinc||0.10 mg (1%)|
* Dansuke Watermelon: This variety is round in shape, has a black exocarp, with no spots or stripes. They are only grown on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. The average selling price of this variety is usually around 25,000 yen.
Health Benefits of Watermelon Fruit and its Juices:
Drawing from the rich anti-oxidant and beta-carotene, the health effects of watermelon juice are immense.
Asthma: The powerful anti-oxidant in watermelon reduces toxic matters in the body, that in turn reduces asthma attacks.
Arthritis: The rich beta-carotene and vitamin C content in this big fruit do wonders in quenching inflammation that contributes to conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Bladder problems: Its cleansing and natural diuretic effect is totally healing for kidney and bladder problems
Cholesterol: Watermelon juice is healthful in preventing cholesterol from clogging arteries and can increase HDL, the good cholesterol, reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Constipation: Drink a big glass of watermelon juice. It is very effective in aiding the elimination of wastes. Consuming plenty of this red juice will do a lot of good.
Fluid retention: Its diuretic action helps to eliminate excess fluids from the body, reducing water retention, especially for women during their monthly menstruation cycle and in pregnant women.
Heart attack: The combination of folic acid and the other essential vitamins in this fruit plays an important role in reducing the risks of heart attacks, strokes and colon cancer.
Itchiness: As watermelon juice cleanses the body of toxic wastes, it also greatly reduces itchiness that result from toxicity of acidosis.
Prostate Cancer: Lycopene (from red watermelons) has been extensively researched for its anti-oxidant and cancer-preventing properties. It is reported to be especially protective against prostate cancer.
Skin Blemish: Use watermelon externally by applying a small piece liberally on your face. Leave for ten minutes, then wash off with warm water, followed by a splash of cold water.
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