Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Watermelon, nutritious and healthy. Really?

I’ve always liked watermelon, especially a ripe, juicy, locally grown watermelon in season as late summer hovers over us with its hot, humid, sultry days. But nutritious? Healthful? That seems like a stretch for a fruit treat that seems to be mostly water and tastes pretty much like sugar. Delicious, watermelon-flavored sugar, but still …

Nevertheless, National Geographic News, a presumably reputable (or even magisterial) source, greets us this morning with happy news:

Studies link the summer treat to many health benefits.

“Big, sloppy slices of watermelon served at a picnic table are the quintessential summer snack - sweet enough to be dessert but, as several recent studies remind us, good for our health as well. (And only 84 calories per wedge!),” wrote National Geographic’s Amanda Fiegl. (Her article is dated Aug. 20 online, but in the Webby way of the Internets, I spotted it only this morning.)

Fiegl cites some scholarly journals and a few fuzzier sources in support of five purported benefits:
  1. It soothes sore muscles.
  2. It helps heart health.
  3. It could be a natural Viagra (!)
  4. It's rich in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories.
  5. It could even combat cancer.

That's the executive summary. You can catch all the details here:

Meanwhile, I think I'll have a nice thick slice today. Maybe two.