Watermelon is a great fruit to enjoy during the hot summer months. As well as being delicious and refreshing, this fruit packs a real nutritional punch. Watermelon is high in an antioxidant called lycopene, which is found in the deep pink color pigment of the fruit. Lycopene has many anti-cancer benefits and has been associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer in particular. Tomatoes are often touted as being high in lycopene, but cup per cup, watermelon has a higher content of lycopene compared with tomatoes.

In addition to its high amount of lycopene, watermelon contains other important nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and water. In fact, watermelon is about 92% water. Eating watermelon can help keep you hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Watermelon is low in calories as well. One cup of chopped watermelon contains only 50 calories.
I recently came across this article (click the link) about the benefits of watermelon. Part of the article talks about fun different ways to incorporate watermelon into a healthy meal plan. Some of my favorite ideas from the article include:
  • Make a salad using watermelon, feta cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Put a slice of cheese or some feta cheese in between watermelon slices for a watermelon sandwich
  • For an increased boost of lycopene, combine chopped watermelon with chopped tomato for a bruschetta-like topping
  • For a slushy treat, mash watermelon flesh and freeze it until half frozen, then defrost slightly and eat it
  • And don’t forget the watermelon rind–in China, this is used like a vegetable in stir-fries
So if you are looking for a refreshing, nutritious treat that can also help keep you hydrated this summer, give watermelon a try.
Rachel Andrew MPH, RD, CD