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Old 06-02-2007, 12:09 PM
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Default 6 Healthy Reasons To Eat Watermelon

Big or small, seedless or not, red or yellow, nothing says summer like a big, juicy watermelon (or a seed-spitting contest off the deck). But there is a lot more to this melon than water. Turns out it's packed with phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, and a good hit of potassium, plus some B6 and thiamine -- everything except fat, sodium and calories. Cool.

Stay healthier Watermelon has lots of lycopene, a key plant antioxidant that is famous for fighting heart disease and prostate cancer. Tomatoes are usually considered the lycopene all-stars, but you have to cook them in a little oil to release it. Watermelon not only needs no cooking to unleash its lycopene but, cup for cup, it has 40 percent more than tomatoes.

Get your C A big slice of watermelon (about two cups) fills almost half your vitamin C quota.

Fight infection Two cups of the juicy red melon also supply nearly a quarter of your daily beta carotene, which your body uses to make vitamin A. Running low on beta c can leave you vulnerable to viral infections and vision trouble.

Heal faster Watermelon (especially yellow-orange varieties) is one of the rare food sources of citrulline, an amino acid used in wound healing and cell division. Slurp up the juice but bite down too: There's extra citrulline in the white and green part that most people toss. Pickled rinds anyone?

Sooth stress Watermelon is a good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure -- making it the perfect snack for stressful family reunions.

Quench cravings There are only 96 calories in two fill-you-up cups of sweet watermelon, and its high liquid content makes you feel full. So start your dessert course with a wedge and you're less likely to go overboard on Aunt Edith's brownies.
Leftovers? Make these the next day.
EASY WATERMELON SLUSHIES
4 servings
3 cups diced watermelon
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup crushed ice
Ĺ cup water
Dash of black pepper or cayenne -- optional flavor twist for heat-lovers
Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend into a frosty slush.

SPACE-SAVING TIP FOR SMALL FRIDGES
Store uncut watermelons at room temperature. They continue to develop nutrients after picking and refrigeration halts the process.
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