WATERMELON + THIRST

Watermelon is a functional food that has the capacity to hydrate the body and serve as a form of holistic nutrition. Ellie Freeman offers advice on how much to consume and what properties the watermelon offers besides just water.

Watermelon is a summertime treat that has the capacity to rehydrate the body, boost anti-oxidative support and reduce muscle soreness. Indulge!

Heat. It can be both a oppressive and luxurious as we buzz around on hot summer days or engage in any act of physical exertion. Our body’s way of compensating is to sweat which not only cools us down but also induces a deep cleansing effect by releasing toxins through the skin.

As a former swimmer, it was always hard to tell how much sweat I had lost in any one practice. Truth be told, I don’t even like the feeling of sweat dripping down my face. I somehow always knew that I had lost more sweat than I had replaced by the inescapable feeling of thirst.

Thirst is a protective mechanism activated when the body senses an imbalance of water and or electrolytes. Unfortunately, the thirst response may be indicative of dehydration, which of course  necessitates immediate action.

There are numerous ways of replenishing water stores, the simplest of which entails carrying around a waterbottle and sipping on it consistently throughout the day. Let me make an addendum to the seasonal water bottle approach…

WATERMELON.

Add it to your water, snack on it between practices and serve it as a dessert because…

WATERMELON + THIRST = HYDRATION.

Watermelon attributes 92% of its weight to water. But that’s not all. Its seductive red color is indicative of a bioactive compound called LYCOPENE that boosts the body’s antioxidative capacity. This is important because physical exertion, time out in the sun and any form of stress to the body causes oxidative damage.

Research is continually validating the fact that eating antioxidative supportive foods is one of the best ways to combat oxidative stress. No wonder summer produce tends to have the highest amounts of antioxidant-boosting compounds. Nature’s protective instincts showcased at their finest!

As if there needed to be a “cherry on top,” watermelon contains high levels of an amino acid called “l-citrulline”. When consumed after physical exertion, l-citrulline has been found by current research to reduce muscle soreness. In one study,  athletes were made to cycle for an hour on an ergometer. When fed 2 cups (500mL) of unpasteurized watermelon juice, there was a significant beneficial effect on the athletes’ level of muscle soreness 24hrs post physical exertion.

Between the abundance of WATER, the bright red LYCOPENE and the muscle soothing L-CITRULLINE,  you’ve got yourself some summertime magic when you bite into a slice of ripe watermelon. Indulge!

NOTE: When picking out a watermelon, look for a creamy yellow spot to ensure that it has had time to fully ripen while sunbathing on a bed of soil.

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