Watermelon Ginger Lemonade & 6 Reasons To Drink It Up!
Besides being a gorgeous and tasty summer fruit, watermelon is loaded with vitamins, minerals and disease-busting antioxidants! This version includes watermelon chunks, a whole peeled lemon and fresh ginger to kick up the flavor and maximize nutrient-density.
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Who needs an excuse to eat watermelon?
The truth is, some of us do! It has been condemned as a high glycemic fruit and a no-no for some of those with blood sugar issues. But let's take a look at what some of the current science says about this unique superfood!
6 Reasons to Enjoy Watermelon!
Watermelon fruit has been the topic of many scientific studies over the years. Part of this is because of it's high lycopene content. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and unlike tomatoes (which have to be cooked to maximize benefits), it's readily available in watermelon.
Here are six science-based reasons why you may want to rotate this seasonal fruit into your diet come summertime!
It's Heart Healthy! Several studies have found the lycopene in watermelon to be cardio-protective. Not only does lycopene diminish the thickness of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the risk of heart attack, it also has been shown to help clear excess cholesterol, which can be an issue for some people (though we all need a substantial amount of cholesterol for hormone and brain health!). Watermelon is also loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, magnesium and potassium -- nutrients all associated with lower risk of cardiovascular problems.
It Has Antioxidant/Anticancer Properties! The lycopene in foods like watermelon has been well-studied as highly protective against several types of cancers, especially hormone dependent cancers like breast, prostate and cervical cancers. It has been shown to protect against DNA damage and disrupt oxidative damage and cancer cell growth. A Harvard study showed that men with diets high in lycopene reported 25% less prostate cancer incidence and 44% reduced risk of other types of cancer.
It's Blood Sugar Regulating! Say what??? Amazingly, watermelon has been demonstrated to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity (insulin is the hormone that helps regulate blood glucose). There have even been animal studies showing that watermelon consumption can mitigate the effects of diabetic conditions. Pretty amazing considering it is a high glycemic fruit! As always, check in with your doctor if you have a blood sugar condition before trying any new nutritional protocols!
It's Very Hydrating! Watermelon is made up over 90% water making it an extremely hydrating food. It is also full of electrolytes like potassium and magnesium making it ideal for replacing electrolytes. There is a reason it grows in summer when we need extra fluids! You can read all about the benefits of hydration on your mood and memory in my post here!
It Supports Eye Health! Studies have also shown that those with low lycopene concentrations in their blood are at higher risk for macular degeneration. The effects of lycopene on blood vessels, even in the eyes, has much to do with the preventing the progression of eye disease.
It's Linked to Bone Health! Lycopene supplementation, like that found in watermelon and cooked tomatoes, has been shown to decrease the break down of bone in post-menopausal women. It has long been known to strengthen bone density!
The Power of Lemon + Ginger
I added two of my favorite therapeutic foods to this beverage to make it even more powerful. Here's why!
Lemon: This well-known citrus fruit is loaded with vitamin C which works synergistically with lycopene to enhance antioxidant activity and prevent DNA damage to cells.
Ginger: At times watermelon has made me bloated. Okay, maybe I was eating too much! I've added ginger to this version to mitigate any watermelon-induced bloat since ginger supports digestion. It also boosts immunity, reduces inflammation and offers improved circulation for cardiovascular health. Aaaaaand it increases the antioxidant capacity of lycopene!
Plastic Straw Alternatives
I don't know why drinking beverages out of straw makes them taste better, but it does! I have avoided straws for years because they are a single use cheap plastic (an easy throw away adding to environmental pollution) and they are made with hormone disrupting chemicals that are possibly carcinogenic.
Why would I want all that while enjoying a nutrient-dense drink?
Enter some terrific solutions for non-toxic and reusable straws that will save you money in the long run!
My absolute favorite are these glass straws! They come with a cleaning brush, but I never use it as they are so easy to rinse off. They look pretty when served and are fun to drink from! We've had them for years with no signs of breaking.
Bamboo straws are also attractive to serve from-- especially for parties or events. They are great for families with kids who may be a bit too wild for the glass straws. The key is to wash well and keep them dry so they don't get moldy. As a bonus they are biodegradable when they need to be tossed/composted!
Stainless steel straws are another sturdy option for kids, families, parties and events. They have a more industrial/modern look, hold up for years and travel well. They are very easy to clean and you don't have to worry about breaking or splintering!
Now let's drink up!
Watermelon Ginger Lemonade
Prep: 5 minutes Blend: 1 minutes Total: 6 minutes Servings: 2
The links below are affiliate links chosen for product quality and purity.
4 cups of fresh, organic watermelon (roughly chopped)
1 inch chunk of fresh organic peeled ginger
1 whole lemon, peeled (okay to leave some white on-- it's loaded with fiber) and quartered (you could also use a lime and make limeade-- also delicious!)
1/4 cup of filtered water
1 teaspoon of raw honey (if you need it sweeter, but the watermelon should do it)
Place all ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth.
Sip and enjoy!
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Let me know if you try this watermelon ginger lemonade and how you like it! You can post in comments below or tag me in any photos on Instagram @nourishandcherish.ntp!
Arnold, G. (2010). “Lycopene Continues to Show Benefits for Bone Health.”NHRI, www.naturalhealthresearch.org/lycopene-continues-to-show-benefits-for-bone-health/.
Cardinault, Nicolas, et al. “Lycopene but Not Lutein nor Zeaxanthin Decreases in Serum and Lipoproteins in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients.”Clinica Chimica Acta, Elsevier, 29 Apr. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009898105001051?via=ihub.
Charnow, Jody A. “Lycopene May Decrease Prostate Cancer Risk.”Renal and Urology News, 16 Jan. 2019, www.renalandurologynews.com/home/news/urology/prostate-cancer/lycopene-may-decrease-prostate-cancer-risk/.
Czarnik-Kwaśniak, Justyna, et al. “The Influence of Lycopene, -Gingerol, and Silymarin on the Apoptosis on U-118MG Glioblastoma Cells In Vitro Model.”Nutrients, MDPI, 30 Dec. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019537/.
Heber & Lu. “Overview of Mechanisms of Action of Lycopene - David Heber, Qing-Yi Lu, 2002.”SAGE Journals, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/153537020222701013.
Garnero, P. et al. “Lycopene Consumption Decreases Oxidative Stress and Bone Resorption Markers in Postmenopausal Women.”Osteoporosis International, Springer-Verlag, 1 Jan. 1994, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00198-006-0205-z.
Lum, T., et al. “Effects of Fresh Watermelon Consumption on the Acute Satiety Response and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults.”Nutrients, MDPI, 12 Mar. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470521/.
Mozos, I. et al. “Lycopene and Vascular Health.”Frontiers in Pharmacology, Frontiers Media S.A., 23 May 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974099/.
Naz, A., et al. “Watermelon Lycopene and Allied Health Claims.”EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 3 June 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/.
Oseni, O.A., et al. “Antioxidative and Antidiabetic Activities of Watermelon (Citrullus Lanatus) Juice on Oxidative Stress in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Male Wistar Albino Rats.”Nigerian Medical Journal : Journal of the Nigeria Medical Association, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4697216/.
Riso, P., et al. “Lycopene and Vitamin C Concentrations Increase in Plasma and Lymphocytes after Tomato Intake. Effects on Cellular Antioxidant Protection.”Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 31 Mar. 2004, www.nature.com/articles/1601974.
Seachrist, D.D., et al. (2015). “A Review of the Carcinogenic Potential of Bisphenol A.”Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26493093/.
Wong, Siau Yen, et al. “Drinking Watermelon Juice Shift the Gut Microbiome in Diabetic Mice (P20-025-19).”Current Developments in Nutrition, Oxford University Press, 13 June 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6573957/.
About the Author
Roxie Daggett is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual practice in Sedona, Arizona. Her passions include studying nutritional research pertaining to memory, brain health, genes and longevity. When she is not geeking out on nutrition she enjoys messing around in the kitchen with old world recipes, reading and hearing stories from elders and farmers about traditional food sourcing, and wandering around the Red Rocks with her heroic husband and Staffordshire bull terrier.
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