A sweet taste of summer

A sweet taste of summer packed with great nutritional benefits, too – Watermelon, the summer smile!

Summer brings to the market a fresh array of fruits and vegetables. Watermelon is a summer fruit that is refreshing on a hot day and packed with great nutritional benefits. It has various vitamins and minerals that can benefit our bodies, with few calories and delicious sweetness. Here are some interesting facts:

Vitamin A, found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health and boosts immunity by enhancing the infection-fighting actions of white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Vitamin B, also found in watermelon helps the immune system produce antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. It also helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells.

Containing vitamin C, watermelon can help bolster the immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses, and can also protect the body from harmful free radicals that can accelerate aging and conditions such as cataracts.

A two-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found in every cell.         

Picking a good watermelon is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.

2. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92 percent water; most of the weight is water.

3. Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Now that you have picked the watermelon, take it home. Before cutting it open remember to wash the melon. Michigan State University Extension recommends following the directions given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Wash all fruits and vegetables in clean, running water before eating them. This is true for all fruits and vegetables. When you are ready to eat it, you will need to use a clean knife and cutting board or another clean surface. Make sure to wash your hands prior to preparing the watermelon for eating. Refrigerate any left-overs within two hours of cutting/or eating.

Enjoy the fruits of summer and cut into a slice of this red fruit, dripping with sweetness and remember the joy of a simple pleasure.

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