"The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented."
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The Ancient Chinese considered watermelon to have cooling and moistening properties and to be useful for removing heat, including summer heat problems.
In this recipe, watermelon is combined with strawberry, another fruit with cooling and moistening properties, together with a little rose water, to create a naturally sweet and refreshing juice with a delicately exotic flavour, ideal for a hot summer day.
It is important to note that fruit juices of all descriptions contain fast-releasing sugars and should not be consumed to excess or in place of whole fruits. If you are suffering from type 2 diabetes you need to be particularly mindful of this.
That said, this particular juice contains only one-third of the total sugars found in an equivalent volume of unsweetened orange juice and one-quarter of the total sugars found in an equivalent volume of cola. It is also rich in nutrients which are beneficial in blood sugar regulation. More details are provided below.
This juice is thus ideal for occasional consumption as part of a whole plant-based diet.
- 1 slice (200 g) watermelon
- 12 (120 g) strawberries
- 1-2 tsp rose water
- 1 sprig fresh mint to garnish
- Serve with ice cubes
- Place watermelon and strawberries in a juicing machine and collect the juice.
- Add rose water to taste
- Serve with ice cubes and a sprig of fresh mint
Nutrients and health benefits
Key nutrients in this watermelon, strawberry and rose water crush are shown in the table below.
This refreshing juice contains over 91 per cent water and is relatively low in calories.
As mentioned above, fruit juices can be high in fast-releasing sugars and it is best not to consume them to excess.
This watermelon, strawberry and rose water crush is, however, relatively low in sugars compared with unsweetened orange juice and with commercial soda drinks such as cola. It is therefore a better choice than orange juice to quench your thirst.
Vitamins and minerals
Remarkably, it contains almost three times the daily guideline amount of vitamin C and over half the daily guideline amount of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6, or pyrodoxine, is an extremely important B vitamin involved in the formation of body proteins and structural components, neurotransmitters such as serotonin, red blood cells and prostaglandins. Vitamin B6 is also critical in maintaining hormonal balance and immune function.
Deficiency of vitamin B6 is characterised by depression, convulsions (especially in children), glucose intolerance, and impaired nerve function.
This drink is also a rich source of potassium, providing 11 per cent of the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Researchers recommend a dietary potassium to sodium ratio greater than 5 to 1 to maintain optimum health. In this recipe, the ratio of potassium to sodium is 35 to 1.
Potassium is the most important dietary electrolyte and is essential for the conversion of blood sugar into glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose found in the muscles and liver. A shortage of potassium results in a lower level of stored glycogen which, in turn, results in great fatigue and muscle weakness.
Potassium deficiency is also marked by mental confusion, irritability, weakness, heart disturbances, and problems in nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
This drink is also a good source of vitamin A, through its relatively high carotenoid content. It also has good levels of vitamin B1, folate, and magnesium.
L-citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid found in high quantity in watermelon; it is found in other foods and is also made in the body. Our bodies change L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and also to nitric oxide. L-citrulline might help increase the supply of ingredients the body needs to make certain proteins. It might also help open up veins and arteries to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure and may also be useful in treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Watermelon juice was given to athletes and found to help to reduce the recovery heart rate and the muscle soreness after 24 hours.
Watermelon is packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature, including lycopene - the red carotenoid pigment, which is also found in tomato. Indeed, some studies suggest that watermelon contains even more lycopene than tomato.
Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. There has been particular interest in the protective effects of lycopene with respect to prostate cancer.
In Chinese medicine, watermelon is used to treat thirst, urinary difficulty, oedema, canker sores, depression, and kidney and urinary tract inflammations such as nephritis and urethritis.
It is not advised for those with weak digestion, anaemia, or excessive uncontrolled urination.
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