Food Friday: Sweet, Savory, Sensational Watermelon

Watermelon season is almost over, so here are 4 tasty ways to enjoy the health benefits of watermelon.

watermelon slices

Watermelon season is almost over, so while they’re still around, slurp them up as much as you can. Cause the ones you’ll find in February won’t be nearly as juicy and sweet.

Watermelon is not only low in calories (about 50 per cup) but high in fiber, water, and flavor, so it keeps you full long after you eat it. It’s a great source of Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A. It’s also packed with lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties, that gives it its red color and its disease-fighting power.

Eating watermelon is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and many types of cancer, especially colon. Since your body absorbs lycopene better when it’s combined with a little bit of fat, consider adding some olive oil or avocado to your next watermelon salad.

Here are 4 refreshing ways to enjoy the health benefits of watermelon:

1. Power Boost Smoothie: Blend 1 cup cubed watermelon, 1 cup strawberries or blueberries, 1 cup reduced-fat milk of your choice, and ice.

2. Sweet Morning Fruit Salad: Combine watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe with fresh peaches, lemon juice, and mint for a refreshing summer salad.

3. Savory Watermelon and Avocado Salad: Combine mesclun salad mix, watermelon cubes, diced avocado, cubed jicama, sliced green onions, cilantro, and mint in a bowl. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Sprinkle with a little crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, if desired.

4. Watermelon Salsa: Combine diced watermelon, raw corn kernels, diced red bell peppers, sliced green onions, minced jalapeño, and diced avocado. Toss with a little olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Serve with grilled shrimp, fish, chicken, or pork tenderloin.

Got other ways to enjoy watermelon? Please share them below.

Photo credit: Susan Russo, Flickr, Food Blogga

Food Friday: The Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Eating lycopene-packed tomatoes is good for your health. Eating tomatoes is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and high blood pressure.

Plump Cherokees the color of red wine. Cheerful pumpkin-colored Early Girls. It’s prime time for heirloom tomatoes. Are you enjoying them?

You should. Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties, that gives them their red color. Translation: Eating tomatoes is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and high blood pressure.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad with Feta Cheese

Serves 4

2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes

2 medium ripe peaches

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

The juice of 1/2 lemon

A sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

1 to 2 springs fresh mint, torn into small pieces

1. Slice tomatoes and peaches into wedges and place on a serving plate.

2. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Pour over the tomatoes and peaches. Add mint leaves and feta. Serve.

Photo and recipe by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.

Get Healthy in One Week: Take a Vacation

Annual vacations are beneficial to your mental and physical health.

You know that guy in your office who’s banked 6 months of vacation and reminds you of it every time you take a day off? Stay away from him. He’s bad for your health.

RIding Thunder Mountain three times in a row with your kids or enjoying a sunset with your spouse reduces anxiety and increases feel-good endorphins.

Take a week at least once a year. It might reduce your risk of heart disease and depression, while improving your sleep and chronic pain.

Unlike your week work, don’t schedule your entire vacation week. Block off some “do-whatever” time, and just go where the day takes you.

The healthiest vacation? Grab the Verizon coverage map. Pick a spot that has no cell phone coverage. Go there.

Photo credit: FFC, james ellsworth