Watermelon contains lycopene which has been studied in great detail regarding the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds which inhibit pro-inflammatory markers.
There are many varieties of watermelon, even ranging in shape from oblong, square (!), round, small, large, white, yellow flesh, and of course red/pink fleshed (some with different antioxidant properties). The rich red-pink colored flesh in watermelon is a visual of the lycopene content.
How to use | fresh is best in my opinion! Use in salads, topped on cereals, granolas, or porridges. A couple of my favorite recipes: Watermelon Salad, Watermelon Gazpacho, Watermelon Slice Popsicles, Watermelon Cubes, and more!
Nutrient breakdown of WATERMELON | *per 1 cup fresh
Carbohydrates | 11g per 1 cup fresh
Vitamin C | 21% DV
Vitamin A | 17% DV
Potassium | 5% DV
Magnesium | 4% DV
Carotenoids |notably lycopene (4532mcg/100g serving), beta-carotene
Amino acids | notably citrulline, arginine, and nitric oxide related benefits
Antioxidants | phytonutrient Cucurbitacin E (which had many health benefits)
Where to purchase | health food stores, grocery stores, or farmers markets.
Tips and tricks | The key is to choose watermelons which are heavier for their size, this indicates that the watermelon has a high water content, therefore it’s more ripe, contains higher nutrients and vibrant flavor (a.k.a. more lycopene)! Watermelons grow on the ground so it’s normal and typical to see watermelons that have a flat “ground spot” on their exterior- avoid the ones that have a white/green spot as this indicates it’s not as ripe as a yellow colored ground spot. Prior to cutting the whole watermelon, store at room temperature for further ripening. After cutting, refrigerate to preserve freshness, flavor, and nutrients as with most fruits and vegetables (although the lycopene content remains stable after cutting).
Knock-knock test for whole uncut watermelon | You’ve seen people around the grocery store or farmers market tapping watermelons to hear the sound/thud, choose watermelons with a deep, hallow, bass sound.
Purchasing pre-cut watermelon | choose the ones deepest in color with no white streaking.