Nutrition Articles

Beat the Heat with a Watermelon Treat

Summer's Freshest Pick

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My watermelon memories go way back… 

Thumping and selecting the perfect melon at the local produce stand, chilling it to perfection, slicing a big wedge and devouring the dark, juicy fruit, and wiping the excess juice from my chin with the sleeve of my t-shirt. And of course, who could resist the seed-spitting contest? Talk about childhood fun! 

Health Benefits 
Most people agree that eating watermelon is one of the best summer activities. However, you may be surprised to learn that such a sweet treat is equally beneficial to your health. The antioxidant lycopene is a plant chemical that gives certain foods (watermelon, tomatoes, red grapefruit, and guava) their red color. Part of the large class of plant compounds called carotenoids, which help protect and preserve body cells from oxidation and damage, lycopene may reduce one’s risk of prostate cancer and protect against heart disease. 

Watermelon Selection & Storage 
Follow these 3 easy steps to choose a perfect melon every time:
  1. Choose a firm, symmetrical fruit that is free of bruises, cuts, and dents.
  2. Pick up the melon, it should feel heavy. (A good watermelon is 92% water.)
  3. The underside should have a creamy yellow spot where the melon sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Compared to most fruits, watermelon should be stored at a warmer temperature—about 55 degrees Fahrenheit—since temperatures too low can cause chill damage. After 2 days at 32 degrees, the flavor will be “off,” and the melon will lose color and become pitted. Whole melons will keep for 7-10 days at room temperature. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 37-39 degrees Fahrenheit.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

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