The health benefits and nutritional values of Nigerian watermelon as well as other watermelons from various parts of the world are not only wonderful but highly indescribable! The health benefits are so great that one wonders why God in his infinite wisdom, created such amazing and mysterious fruit and stuffed it with all the life-saving nutrients able and capable of improving, curing, and preventing most of our health disorders!
As for me, it took me many years to discover both the nutritional values and the health benefits of this wonder yet simple, common fruit. However, I believe many Nigerian and people from other parts of the world may be as ignorant as I was in discovering what this simple, common fruit can do in our lives. I must be frank with you this watermelon is an elixir of life without any competition! Health benefits of Nigerian watermelon are really supper!
Come to think of it, Nigerian watermelon or any other watermelon is the cheapest fruit to buy, easily cultivated and easily eaten! When I watch Nigerian Nollywood movies, I occasionally see some of the Nollywood stars at tables eating watermelon slices.
I bet you many of these stars don't even know the nutritional values and health benefits that are there in watermelon. I hope these articles I have written about the fruit will help them to form the habits of eating the fruit every day.
The average poor Nigerians in the villages as well as in the cities do't even like to eat watermelon. I found this out during my researches in Nigeria last year. You can read the conversation I had with one particular watermelon seller in Owerri, Imo state.
There were many women selling watermelon and various fruits and vegetables b ut my conversation with Madam Rachael who I guess must be in late thirties was significant.
First, I asked Rachael the price of a large watermelon. She told me that the price of the large one was N200 and the small ones ranged from N50-N150. To make the price easy, N200 is about 75-80p! In London, that would cost about £3.50-£4!
In a dialogue with Rachael, I asked her how often she eats the fruit?
In response, She exclaimed,"heee-yi!" I don't like eating watermelon...I don't like them at all!" However, she went on, "I only eat them during dry seasons when I can't find clean water to drink!"
She went on these ones I sell come from "Ugwu-Awusa, Jos in northern Nigeria" In dry season, if you go to farm works, you eat the fruit to quench your thirst and that's all to it! Besides, I don't particularly like the somewhat "yama, yama" taste of the fruit....ha..ha" she chuckled with laughter.
In trying to convince her to make a habit of eating the fruit for both nutritional and health benefits the fruit provide, she once again told me she prefer to eat akpu, yam, pounded yam, plantains and that they are much much better life-savers than cheap, common watermelon.
Scientific name of watermelon: Watermelon is scientifically known as Citrullis lanatus. Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and are fruits like Cantaloupe, pumpkin, and and similar plants that grow on vines and on grounds.
Health benefits of Nigerian or any other watermelons: Watermelon contains the amino acids arginine and citrulline, which are important building blocks of proteins. They work to keep the (heart) cardiovascular system healthy.
To add more to the belief of the Nigerian watermelon seller, "watermelon is not just thirst-quencher o hot days in dry seasons in tropical countries and summer in temperate regions of the world. This great thirst-quencher has more to give to our lives. Watermelon has the potentials to help to quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes; colon cancer and arthritis.
In fact, most watermelons are rich in potassium, a nutrient that is said to help control blood pressure, regulate heart beat and possibly prevent strokes.
"The 2005 Dietery Guidelines state that potassium rich diets help to keep salt from raising blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and possibly age-related bone loss"
Watermelon is sweet, delicious,nutritious, juicy but it is Heavenly super packed with some of the health benefits most fruits don't have.It is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene.
Pink watermelon is also a great source of potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body doing wonderful jobs like neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause great deal of damage. Most importantly, they are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to the blood vessels walls, where it can lead to heart attacks or stroke.
They equally add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clampdown and close. They can increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoathritis and rheumatoid arthrisis and cause most of the joint damage that occur in these conditions as well as damage cells lining the colon turning them into cancer cells.
Thank God, fortunately, Vitamin C and beta-carotene are super at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damages they would otherwise cause"
Scientific study conducted by Havard University: They found that men who ate lycopene-rich diets of tomatoes,and tomato products have a much lower risk of developing certain cancers, especially prostate cancer.
"Lycopene is found only in red Watermelon varieties. In fact, it gives watermelon its red colour, thus the redder the watermelon, the more lycopene it contains"
The research findings continued, "We have always known that watermelon offers a great number of benefits but as lycopene continues to emerge as a possible important effective agent in disease prevention. In addition to lycopene, watermelon offers host of other health benefits.
It is fat-free, yet delivers 100% on the critical energy component found in functional foods" In additiona, one of the most important Vitamins found in watermelon is Vitamin B6, which is involved in the manufacture of Serotonin,the feel-good hormone in the brain.
From this article, I know many Nigerians, rich or poor, young or old and other people of the world will now form the habit of eating and drinking the juice of this elixir of life fruit- watermelon for their both nutritional and health values second to none! The next article in this subject will be "Juicing watermelon for health benefits" Eat Nigerian watermelon