By Naini Setalvad March 2013 Melons are just what the doctor ordered, especially during sizzling summer Few can resist a bowl of chilled fruit on a hot summer’s day, especially some delicious chopped watermelon. Every person in a tropical climate would have fond memories of chomping into a slice of watermelon or slurping up a glass of its delicious juice. Sweet and juicy, watermelon is packed with some of the most important anti-oxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. It is also a source of the potent carotenoid anti-oxidants and lycopene. These powerful anti-oxidants travel through the body neutralising free radicals. How does that help us so much? Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage. They are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls where it can lead to heart attack or stroke. They can add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close. They can increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and cause most of the joint damage that occurs in these conditions, and they can damage cell linings of the colon, turning them cancerous. Anti-oxidants help combat free radicals – which are the root of all these problems. Therefore, regular consumption of watermelon is advisable. The bright red variety with its green skin is excellent for cancer patients, especially due to its lycopene content. Apart from watermelons, there is the fleshy musk melon, also known as cantaloupe or simply melon. Melons provide a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Like many other fruits, they are also fat and cholesterol-free, high in water content, and relatively low in calories. Many melons originated in the Middle East and their popularity gradually spread across Europe. It is said that ancient Egyptians and Romans mostly consumed musk melons. The potassium in musk melon reduces blood pressure. This works extremely well for those with hypertension. So, eat some watermelon and musk melon daily, and keep your hypertension under control. The natural sugar in both watermelon and musk melon helps combat a sweet craving without the problem of increasing weight, or adding to cholesterol levels, as they are zero in fat and cholesterol, and also low in sodium. Their high water content ensures that a person is adequately hydrated. The nutritional value of honeydew melon makes it an excellent choice for both weight control and general health. Melons help prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. No other fruits are as effective as melons in combating dehydration. Their subtle sweetness and crunchy texture make them ideal for consumption in the hot summer months. Although watermelons can be found throughout the year, summer is when they are at their sweetest, and of the best quality. It is essential to eat seasonal fruits, because they are fresh and cheaper. Go on, bite into that juicy sliver of watermelon, and chill. Watermelon salad Ingredients 1/2 watermelon 1 cup mint leaves finely chopped 1 green chilli chopped 1/2 lemon juice 50 gms cottage cheese ( paneer), crumbled (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Method • Deseed and cut watermelon into big cubes and put in a big bowl. • Add mint leaves, green chilli, salt, lemon and pepper to the cubes. • Toss well, top with crumbled paneer and serve
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