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Vitamins and Minerals Found Inside Watermelons

watermelon piecesWatermelon rind, both the green and the white parts, are loaded with nutrients including provitamin A, potassium and zinc... BUT... you cannot (and should not) eat either the rind or the white parts.

With 95% of the food value in these two parts of the watermelon, you can probably see juicing this wonderful melon brings us a definite advantage. Watermelons are be both super nutritious and wonderfully delicious when juiced alone.

Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about watermelons.

  • What vitamins in watermelons make them so good for us?
  • What is the best method for juicing watermelons?
  • What are some great buying tips for watermelons?

Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information about watermelons that you might not find so easily elsewhere on the Internet.

Let's learn more about watermelons...

Vitamins and Minerals in Watermelons

Watermelons are probably best known for being a good source of folate, but they also can be a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Vitamins in Watermelons

  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A
  • Trace amounts of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin E

Minerals in Watermelons

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Trace amounts of Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Iron, and Zinc

Did you know that watermelon with red flesh is also a significant source of lycopene? In fact, it is considered by experts to be the lycopene leader in fresh produce having higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, even higher than tomatoes.

In addition to containing plentiful amounts of the health-promoting antioxidant lycopene, watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid citrulline.

With the tremendous juicing advantage to get the maximum nutrients (found in the rind and white part), the next time you think about watermelons, think about how they might add a powerful boost to your daily nutrition through juicing.

Juicing Tips for Juicing Watermelons

Juicing watermelons can add both flavor and valuable nutrients to most any home-juiced fruity cocktail. Generally, it is best juiced (and drunk) alone as most melons should be.

Here are a few tips for juicing watermelons that may help turn your juicing experience into something you look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.

After carefully washing it, you can cut your watermelon into chunks, juicing the rind, white part and deliciously sweet red part with seeds altogether.

Some prefer to juice the red parts (with seeds) first on a slow speed, then juice the rind and white parts after on a higher speed (if you have more than a 2-speed juicer).

Keeping in mind that watermelon is approximately 92% water, you can expect a lot of juice from a small part of a standard size watermelon.

Did you know that watermelon juice is one of the greatest thirst quenchers around? In addition, watermelon is said to have a strong yin (cooling) property. Watermelons make excellent smoothies, too!

Purchasing Tips for Buying Watermelons

watermelon on the vine in a gardenIf you are unable to grow your own watermelon, then here are a few tips for buying watermelons that may help you get the freshest ingredients.

We'll also include a few storing tips for watermelons which you might find helpful.

As both the rind and the white parts contain so many valuable nutrients, I generally recommend organically grown watermelons. If not available, be sure to wash your watermelons with a good biodegradable fruit and vegetable wash before cutting and/or juicing.

Thump watermelons with your fingers to determine if they sound hollow and are therefore ripe. The skins, either green or green-and-white striped, should be dull rather than shiny and when you scratch them gently with your fingernails the green should come off easily.

One farmer once told me to look for bee bites (stings) on the skin, irregular markings which indicate the bees have found the melon extra sweet. Some people also suggest checking the underbelly where the melon rested on the ground, as a pale color means the melon is "sweet and ready to eat." (Or ready to juice.)

Store watermelons in a cool room until used. Store open (cut) watermelons in the refrigerator.

General Information About Watermelon

This article wouldn't be complete if we didn't include a little general information about watermelons, as well as a few helpful links if you want to explore watermelons further.

Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

Watermelons fall under the "calming food" category for kids.

Watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa, but the first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5000 years ago in Egypt.

Watermelons were often placed in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.

Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

watermelon facts and resourcesThere are more than twelve hundred varieties of watermelon growing worldwide ranging in size from less than a pound, to more than two hundred pounds with flesh that is red, orange, yellow, or white.

In Lane, Oklahoma, ARS scientists are grafting watermelon stems onto squash or gourd rootstock to produce firmer melons. This trait could help watermelon take the lead in the fresh-cut produce industry, possibly surpassing the huge fresh-cut salad and vegetable market.

The world record for the heaviest watermelon (a whopping 262 pounds grown in 1990 by Bill Carson of Arrington, TN) is held by a variety known as the Carolina Cross which commonly produces fruit between 65 and 150 pounds.

Today, farmers in approximately 44 states in the U.S. grow watermelon commercially, and almost all these varieties have some Charleston Gray in their lineage, a variety developed (by the USDA Vegetable Breeding laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina) to produce high yields and be resistant to the most serious watermelon diseases: anthracnose and fusarium wilt.

The Citrulline which exists in watermelon (especially in the rind) is a known stimulator of nitric oxide, NO is thought to relax and expand blood vessels and may even increase libido, however no one knows how much watermelon you would have to eat to see similar results to erectile dysfunction drug products (like Viagra).

The human body uses citrulline to make another important amino acid -- arginine -- which plays a key role in cell division, wound healing and the removal of ammonia from the body. In one study, concentrated watermelon juice consumption was shown to increase plasma arginine levels in study volunteers.

A recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) about watermelon consumption and heart healthy benefits was completed and published March 2007. Four new structure-function claims were derived from this study:

  1. Watermelon consumption increases free arginine and citrulline, which can help maintain cardiovascular function.
  2. Eating watermelon can help maintain cardiovascular health.
  3. Watermelon has amino acids such as citrulline and arginine that help maintain the arteries.
  4. Watermelon amino acids citrulline and arginine can help maintain blood flow and heart health.

Medical researchers are currently evaluating arginine as a possible treatment for high blood pressure, elevated glucose levels and the vascular complications associated with sickle-cell disease.

Watermelons are also considered to be a mild diuretic.

In some Mediterranean countries, the taste of watermelon is paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.

Today, watermelons are used in recipes for everything from fruit smoothies to salsas to salads, sandwiches, pancakes and much more.

Watermelon carving has also become something of an art for creating fruit and/or salad centerpieces at parties and special events.

Additional sources and resources for watermelons.

Additional Sources/Resources for Watermelons

USDA - Watermelon Serves Up Medically Important Amino Acid

NutritionData.com - Watermelon, raw

National Watermelon Promotion Board

Wikipedia - Watermelons

 

Be sure to check out both our "Juicing" and our "Smoothies" sections for delicious recipes and more using Watermelon!