The World Championship of Watermelon Seed Spitting is held at the Annual Watermelon Thump in Luling, Texas: The world record is 68 feet, 9 1/8 inches! Clearly, the folks in Luling take their watermelon seriously, but what we’re about to tell you is something even those watermeloners might not be aware of.
Watermelon is a super food. It has about 40 percent more lycopene per cup than tomatoes. Lycopene boosts levels of a hormone called adiponectin that helps you maintain healthy a blood sugar level, burn fat, cool inflammation, lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and decrease arterial aging or atherosclerosis. Plus, it encourages cancer cells to die. That’s why lycopene has been associated with reducing the risk for breast, prostate, lung and stomach cancers.
Another good-for-you nutrient found in watermelon is the amino acid L-citrulline. A recent study found that after you work out, citrulline accelerates removal of lactic acid from your body, reducing recovery time and next-day muscle soreness.
Does that mean watermelon can make you run faster or jump higher? Sorry, that seems unlikely. Another study found that eating it doesn’t enhance athletic performance — although it can help your muscles repair so that you feel more like getting back out there the next day!
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So bring slices of watermelon to your child’s next soccer game. And think about juicing up a glass for a thirst-quenching drink after you take a bike ride. Either way, chowing down on watermelon this summer will make you feel better today and tomorrow.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.