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A Brief History of the Watermelon
The first recorded watermelon harvest, depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics, occurred approximately 5,000 years ago in Egypt; however, watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. Watermelon's botanical name, citrullus vulgaris, comes from the diminutive form of citrus, referring to the color and shape of the fruit, and vulgaris meaning common or ordinary fruit.
What makes a Watermelon a Superfood?
Watermelons are 92% water - making them a mega-hydrating diuretic. They also contain 12% fiber, they pack a ton of Vitamins A, B6, and C, have more lycopene than raw tomatoes, and are filled with antioxidants. They also contain the amino acid citrulline, which helps the body produce yet another amino acid called arginine. Eating watermelon has been shown to raise the body's arginine levels and could potentially lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Arginine is also important in cell division, allowing the body to properly heal itself and create new tissue.
So what can Watermelon really do for me?
Workout Recovery: watermelons contain a natural substance called citrulline, which has been linked to improved artery function and lower blood pressure. It’s ability to relax the blood vessels make it a great post-workout recovery drink. In fact, studies show that athletes who consumed ~16 ounces of watermelon juice an hour post-workout had less muscle soreness and a lower heart rate within 24 hours than athletes who skipped the juice.
Enhanced Sex Drive: recent studies have shown that citrulline - a nutrient found in watermelon - can have a Viagra-like effect on the body. The citrulline boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes your blood vessels, and increases blood flow to the erectile tissue in both men and women.
Hair + Skin Health: the high Vitamin A content in watermelon is key for sebum production that help to keep your skin and hair moisturized. Vitamin C is necessary for building and maintaining collagen - which provides structure to your skin and hair.
Cardiovascular Support + Bone Health: the lycopene found in watermelon helps to improve your blood flow, thereby lowering your blood pressure. Watermelon is also rich in potassium, which helps to retain calcium in your body, resulting in stronger bones and joints.
Eye Health: watermelon is a great source of beta-carotene, which your body converts to Vitamin A. It helps produce the pigments in the retina of the eye and protects against age-related macular degeneration, all while preventing night blindness.
Kidney Support: watermelon is a natural diuretic which helps increase the flow of urine, but does not strain the kidneys. Watermelons helps the liver process ammonia (waste from protein digestion) which eases strain on the kidneys, while getting rid of excess fluids.
5 Random Watermelon Facts to blow your mind:
- According to the Guinness World Records, the largest watermelon to date weighed in at a whopping 350 pounds.
- By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the USA.
- Watermelons were often placed in the burial tombs of Egyptian kings to nourish them in the afterlife.
- They are overachievers - they are both a fruit and a vegetable!
- There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelons, grown is nearly 100 countries worldwide.