Happy freakin' Friday babes! It's been AWHILE since I wrote a #FunctionalFoodFriday blog post. I've just been a little bit busy getting married and settling back into working and life ya know? BUT I'm back and am ready to drop some more knowledge on you guys about some of my favorite foods and why they're so damn good for you. This weeks' functional food is WATERMELON! Yes, what I consider to be one of the BEST parts of Summer - delicious, juicy, Watermelon. I decided to write about this particular fruit because all I've been craving is water and extra juicy fruit to keep me hydrated during these summer months here in the Boston area.
So, as we all already know, Watermelon is SUPER hydrating, which is what makes it the perfect summer treat on hot days. It also contains Lycopene, which is what gives fruits and vegetables their pink or red coloring. Studies on Lycopene have shown that it is an extremely powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that can damage the cells within the body. Why do we want to minimize free radicals in our bodies? Simply put, they can cause diseases and too many of them can take a toll on your body and overall health. Let's dive into some more of the health benefits that Watermelon has to offer:
1. Soothes Acid Reflux (Watermelons are considered an anti-inflammatory food. Melons can actually regulate pH levels within the body and aid in soothing the gastrointestinal tract. They can also decrease the production of acid within the stomach.)
2. Skin Protector (Like I mentioned above, Watermelon is an antioxidant powerhouse. It also contains high levels of Vitamin A and C, which are important components of healthy skin. It also contains Manganese, which produces collagen, is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce swelling and infection of the skin.)
3. Helps Relieve Aches + Pains (Watermelon contains an amino acid called l-citrulline which has been proven to reduce muscle soreness. Studies on Watermelon juice have shown that it is beneficial for muscle aches and recovery. Vitamin C also aids in healing wounds, tendons and ligaments.)
4. Immune System Booster (Since Watermelon contains such high levels of Vitamin C, it helps improve immune system function, has the ability to defend against disease and can shorten the amount of time you are sick for. Like mentioned above, it helps the gastrointestinal tract which is where the health of our immune system is based!)
5. Natural Detoxifier (We all know Watermelon is hydrating, hence it's name "water"-melon. Fun fact: it's actually 91% water! Drinking water and eating real food that contains water helps detox your body naturally. It can help alleviate bloating - which is super helpful during your menstrual cycle ladies! Watermelon also contains high levels of potassium, which acts as a natural electrolyte source within the body. Meaning, it is a healthier alternative to keep you hydrated compared to sugar-filled sports drinks!)
6. Fights off disease (Studies have shown that diseases have a harder time developing and thriving in an alkaline environment. Watermelon is considered an alkaline food, meaning it helps balance pH levels within the body. Consuming more alkaline foods decreases inflammation and in turn, helps in the fight against disease.)
7. Eye Health (Studies have shown that macular degeneration, changes in vision and even blindness can be caused by a severe vitamin A deficiency. Watermelons naturally contain vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all nutrients that play a crucial role in the overall health of your eyes.)
8. Aids in Weight Loss (Watermelon is a great food choice if you are looking to lose a couple pounds. It is a low-calorie, yet nutrient dense fruit that also hydrates you. I'd say that's a win-win! Studies on Watermelon have also shown to help with overall performance and recovery time. It helps increase blood flow, which allows the body to recover faster while building endurance.)
If you don't already love the taste of this sweet fruit, all of the reasons above should convince you to start eating some Watermelon. I don't know about you guys, but as soon as temperatures get above 70 degrees in the Spring, my taste buds literally start craving fruit. Right now I'm trying to get as much fresh fruit in my body as possible before the Fall and Winter months get here. As always, if you have any specific foods you'd like to learn more about, send me over a message!