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By Julie Christensen
What would summer be without juicy, sweet watermelon? Watermelon makes the perfect snack, picnic food or summer dessert. It’s also refreshing in smoothies, fruit pops and sorbets. Have you ever wondered where watermelon came from? How about the old wive’s tale about swallowing watermelon seeds? Read on to learn fun and interesting facts about your favorite summer fruit.
1. Seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified. They’re actually a hybrid watermelon created by crossing a watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a watermelon with 44 chromosomes. The result is a sterile watermelon. These watermelons produce immature white seeds that are perfectly safe to eat. Seedless watermelons were first created over 50 years ago.
2. Watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians depicted watermelon in drawings on the walls of tombs and even left watermelon with their dead to nourish them as they journeyed through the underworld.
3. Because watermelons are native to Africa, they need hot, sunny conditions to thrive. Some varieties need up to 130 warm days to ripen.
Most watermelons mature in 85 to 100 days.
4. According to Guinness World Records, the largest watermelon ever grown was grown in Arkansas by Lloyd Bright and weighed 268.8 pounds! The record was set in 2005 at theHope ArkansasBig Watermelon Contest.
5. Watermelons are 92 percent water. Early explorers sometimes carried watermelons instead of canteens.
6. Over 300 types of watermelons are grown in the U.S., although only about 50 varieties are grown for grocery stores. Try growing watermelon in your own backyard to experiment with more unusual varieties.
7. Watermelons usually have red flesh, but some watermelons have white, yellow, orange or even green flesh.
8. Watermelon sweetness can be measured by a Brix scale. Most watermelons are around 9 to 10 on the Brix scale. Very sweet watermelon measure 11 to 12 on the Brix scale.
9. Watermelons spread from Africa to China in the 10th century. Today, China grows more watermelon than any other country. In China, guests offer watermelons as gifts to a hostess.
10. The U.S.ranksfourth in the worldforwatermelon production. Top watermelon growing states include California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
11. John Egerton, Southern food historian, believes watermelons came to the U.S.withAfrican slaves.
12. A watermelon will not grow in your belly if you eat the seeds. In fact, the seeds are actually quite nutritious with high levels of magnesium, zinc and protein. Chew the seeds before swallowing for optimum nutrition.
13. We think of watermelon as a fruit because of its sweet flavor, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.
14. Old-timers like to sprinkle watermelon with a dash of salt. In Egypt and Africa, people often pair watermelon with salty feta cheese. The salt brings out the juice and flavor of watermelon.
15. Watermelon is a health food! Watermelon has only 40 calories per cup, yet it has more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is a powerfulantioxidant whichcan reduce inflammation and destroy free radicals. Watermelon is also high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.
16. The Japanese grow square watermelon. How? They place square glass boxes around a growingfruit soit becomes square as it grows. The Japanese like them because they’re small and don’t roll around. They fit neatly in a refrigerator. The downside? Thesewatermeloncost about $82!
17. Have you ever had a watermelon seed spitting contest? Jason Schayot is an expert watermelon seedspitter. He holds the world record for watermelon seed spitting at 75 feet 2 inches, set in 1995.
18. Watermelon is the official vegetable of Oklahoma. Or is it a fruit?
19. Americans eat more watermelon by weight than any other fruit. Watermelon producers in America grow more than 4 billion pounds of watermelon annually.
20. Mark Twain loved watermelon. He called it the food of angels.
Know of any other fun watermelon facts that we missed? Leave a comment and let us know, so we can add it!
When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which includes perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.
Via Kim Frye Housh
“ Did you realize that the foods you eat can affect how resilient your skin is to the sun? Here are foods that have been shown to improve skin health.”
But, did you realize that some foods can affect how resilient your skin is to the harsh UV rays of the sun? Here are 5 food groups that have been shown to help improve skin health (keep in mind these aren’t a substitute for safe sunscreen and proper skin protection!).
Salmon & chia. Or any omega-3-rich food for that matter. Tomatoes & carrots. Beta-carotene and lycopene have been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect itself from UV rays.
Dark chocolate. The flavonoids in this superfood have actually been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect itself against sun damage.
Cruciferous veggies & leafy greens. Yes, yes, we all know that broccoli, cauliflower, and that ubiquitous superfood kale are full of antioxidants. And antioxidants prevent free radical damage, like the damage caused by UV rays. But cruciferous veggies also possibly play a role in preventing not only skin cancer, but many forms of cancer, although the research is far from conclusive.
Green tea. Those polyphenols have done it again. Studies have shown that daily tea drinking, in association with the Mediterranean diet, can offer protection against melanoma.
Via Bert Guevara, Functional Family Medicine, The Planetary Archives Digital University
“ Pineapple is packed with healthy nutrients that protect us against many ailments. Pineapple tastes sweet and contains great amount of vitamins A and C, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. 1. Strong protection against cancer Pineapple is loaded with antioxidants that destroy free radicals and prevent cell damage. It provides a strong protection against severe diseases, …”
Via Ingrid Long, Functional Family Medicine, The Planetary Archives Digital University
The number of overweight and obese adults in the United States continues to rise, according to a new study that’s found more than two-thirds of adult Americans aged 25 years or older are now overweight or obese. The research analysed data from the...
Via Kim Frye Housh
"The immune system is as remarkable as it is complex. It is, after all, our body’s 24/7 watchdog. When the immune system functions normally, it distinguishes external foes from friends—mounting a powerful response to infections while allowing nourishing nutrients to enter our bloodstream. But as counter-intuitive as it might seem, the immune system sometimes turns against its host, sort of like a dog biting the hand that feeds it. When the immune system attacks the very body it’s meant to protect, it causes what doctors call autoimmune diseases."
PETER DOCKRILL26 JUN 2015
While many eaters are mindful to limit their overall egg consumption for fear of ramping up their cholesterol count, a new study has found that pairing salads with eggs can markedly improve the absorption of nutrients contained in raw vegetables.
Researchers at Purdue University in the US conducted a study that saw 16 participants consume the same mixed-vegetable salad in three different variations: with no eggs, with a 75-gram serving of eggs (1.5 eggs), or with 150 grams of eggs (three eggs).
Once the participants’ blood was analysed after the meals, the results indicated that carotenoid absorption was significantly higher - by a factor of three to eight times - for the salad with three eggs than when compared to the egg-free serving.
Carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients, contained in a variety of fruits and vegetables, and are believed to provide a range of health benefits including reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and the risk of disease.
“Eating a salad with a variety of colourful vegetables provides several unique types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene,” one of the team and professor of nutrition science, Wayne Campbell, said in a press release. “The lipid contained in whole eggs enhances the absorption of all these carotenoids.”
And don’t skimp on the egg yolk either, folks. The research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicates that you won’t get all the benefits of the carotenoid absorption if you limit yourself to just egg whites. (In testing, the researchers used scrambled eggs to ensure the participants consumed the whole egg.)
“While other egg forms were not tested, we believe the results would be comparable as long as the egg yolk is consumed,” said Campbell.
In addition to eggs, other forms of lipids can also help with carotenoid uptake. One of the simplest ways to do this with a salad is to use a salad dressing that contains healthy fats, but the researchers warn not go overboard with energy-dense toppings.
“The lipids in salad dressings also increase the absorption of carotenoids but it is easy to overuse salad dressings and consume excess calories.
Many salad dressings contain about 140-160 calories per serving, about two tablespoons,” says Campbell. “One large whole egg is about 70 calories and provides 6 grams of protein. People are at a greater risk of putting too many calories on a salad because they don't always know proper portion sizes for salad dressings, but you do know the portion size of an egg.”
Via Kim Frye Housh
If you would like to continue to eat meat, it’s best to choose organic meats that are grass-fed or free-range. It’s best to look for meat with no nitrates, MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or any artificial flavouringor colouring.
Via The Planetary Archives Digital University, Functional Family Medicine
Latest changes to the Pompeo “DARK” Act create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill
Tell Congress to Protect Your Right to Know: Oppose the DARK Act http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/1881/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14356&sp_ref=129056936.65.7423.o.1.2#.VYtw4Biwu2Q.twitter