Thursday, 21 August 2014

Watermelon - Could it be the next coconut water?

It’s finally the season for watermelon, so instead of three or four pounds for a slice or a small pot every other time of year, you can now pick up a large whole watermelon for one or two pounds, and why wouldn’t you? The health benefits are endless. In our usual format, we’re going to look at the advantages to eating watermelon, and then add in some recipes.

1. Healthy Heart - Watermelon contains citrulline which boosts arginine levels in the blood, aids relaxation of the blood vessels, decreasing blood pressure and reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. So if high blood pressure is a problem, try some melon!

2. Helps fight infection and aid eyesight - watermelon is rich in beta-carotene with just two cups of watermelon supplying a quarter of our daily needs. Beta carotene plays a vital role in fighting infection and maintaining good eye health.

3. Accelerating healing process - Citrulline found in watermelon is an amino acid thats promotes cell division and wound healing.

4. Great if you're dieting - In two cups of watermelon there are only 96kcal, it’s high in fibre and with it’s high liquid content, it will curb your cravings for longer.

5. Improves Male Fertility - So citrulline, in addition to being wonderful for everything else, is also converted into arginine in the body which has been shown to boost sperm count and motility

6. Boosts energy levels - Watermelon’s high water, vitamin and mineral content make it great mid afternoon boost to your energy levels.

7. Anti-ageing properties  - Rich in lycopene, vitamin A and vitamin C, watermelon is great for healthy hair, skin and nails, maintaining their strength and integrity helping you to look young.

Recipe Time!

Watermelon Mint Lemonade - a delicious and very cool looking drink to serve in the summer heat. Add a little vodka for a great cocktail! Serve in jars for a country-outdoor style

2 ½ pounds of watermelon flesh, de-seeded, chopped into chunks
¼ cucumber skinned and cut into chunks
1 cup of fresh lemon juice
¼ cup of mint leave
Rum or vodka to serve, optional

1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
2. Strain through a sieve to serve, decorate with mint and lemon slices and enjoy!

Watermelon and herb salad with grilled halloumi - absolutely delicious, really healthy and easy to make

2 cups of watermelon flesh, de-seeded and chopped
1 small bunch of coriander
1 small bunch of mint
240g halloumi cut into eight slices
zest and juice of one lemon
4 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat a griddle pan and fry the halloumi slices on each side for 30 seconds. Leave to cool.
2. Pop the melon, coriander and mint in a bowl, adding the halloumi once cooled.

3. Mix together the lemon juice and olive oil, season to taste and add to the salad. Serve with Italian bread such as ciabatta.

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