Summer + Watermelon
The picture of summer for me is being active outside, seeing all the American flags hung with pride, and catching glimpses of fireflies. The energy that comes with summer’s long days is contagious and can seem endless. So, what is the best way to enjoy summer without over exerting ourselves? Watermelon — one of Chinese medical theory’s best-tasting herbs.
Watermelon is nature’s greatest summer gift. Not only is watermelon fun and messy to eat, but the health benefits are also pretty spectacular.
Summer’s energy drink
If you’re active in the hot summer months, you’ve most likely enjoyed a refreshing electrolyte drink to replenish all the salts you’ve depleted through sweating. Consider a pure, natural drink: blend up some watermelon and add juice from a lime! Watermelon is high in potassium, which helps to maintain proper electrolyte and acid-base balance. The potassium also helps with muscle and nerve function to help prevent cramping. When your muscles start to cramp up from exercising this summer, it is often a good reminder to increase your electrolytes and potassium intake.
Despite being 90 percent water, watermelon is much more efficient at cooling down your core temperature than just drinking ice water. Not everyone loves the heat and humidity of summertime. Other than being uncomfortable and sweaty, if your core is warmer than ideal, it can manifest as frustration, irritability and even headaches. Bringing watermelon to the neighborhood barbecue might be more of a gift than you originally imagined.
Improved cardiovascular function
Everyone is naturally more active in the summertime. That means your heart works more to make sure muscles have the blood and oxygen they need to function properly. Watermelon is high in both citrulline and arginine; both of these amino acids help to maintain blood flow, healthy arteries and overall function of the cardiovascular system.
Watermelon is an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. In general terms, antioxidants slow down the aging process. The lycopene of watermelon does this by helping to slow the breakdown of muscles and all body tissues. It boosts the immune system and fights heart disease.
This summer, serve up nature’s greatest summer gift, watermelon. As the juice drips down the side of your face, be sure to smile and remember that the sweetness in your mouth is helping you stay youthful by providing the electrolytes for your muscles, boosting your cardiovascular function and helping you be more active, allowing you to keep your cool — both literally and figuratively. Happy summer!
This post was originally published by Nature's Pathways.