Many of us have seen and eaten a water melon and may not be sure of the nutrient contents of it. The watermelon fruit has a smooth exterior and a juicy, sweet, usually red interior flesh. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Watermelon also provides significant amounts of vitamin B6 and vitamin B1. It contains a potassium and magnesium and is low in sodium. It is not only the fruit of the watermelon which is nutritious but the seeds as well. Watermelon seeds are rich in fat and protein, and are added to other dishes, or used as an oilseed in the same way ‘agushie’ is used. 


Sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage. They are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or strokes. Free radicals can add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close. Fortunately, vitamin C and beta-carotene are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damage they would otherwise cause.                 


Watermelon is also a very concentrated source of the carotenoid, lycopene. Well known for being abundant in tomatoes and particularly well absorbed from cooked tomato products, lycopene is also present in high amounts in watermelon and mangoes. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.                  


Watermelons are excellent snacks for all people including those trying to lose weight because they contain a lot of water and practically no fat. It should thus replace more energy dense snacks such as biscuits, soft drinks, chips and others. We should note that though it is low in calories, it has calories so when eaten in excess; it will contribute to the total caloric intake.

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