models of various foods (we dietitians always play with our
food), I asked a patient to identify which ones contained
carbohydrates. She correctly noted bread and rice and pasta.
When I held up a piece of fruit, she was surprised.
from fructose … fruit sugar, I explained. But that’s not a
bad thing. Our bodies need carbs to fuel our muscles and
favorite is watermelon," she said. "Is that
good, I said. Here are a few reasons:
provides fluids. "Water" melon, get it? In fact, 92
percent of this fruit is water, making it also low in
calories. According to an article on this topic in the June
issue of Food and Nutrition magazine, one measuring cup of
watermelon chunks has just 46 calories plus a healthy dose of
vitamins A and C — nutrients that strengthen our immune
system and make our skin glow.
has 40 percent more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Lycopene is
the pigment that gives watermelon (and tomatoes) their bright
red color. This substance has been found to be a potent
antioxidant that may play a role in lessening our risk for
cancer, heart disease and an eye disease called macular
has a small dose of potassium. So people who must avoid
excessive amounts of potassium in their diets (such as those
with kidney disease) can still enjoy watermelon. One cup of
watermelon contains 170 milligrams (mg) of potassium compared
to 388 mg for the same amount of honeydew melon and 427 mg for
cantaloupe. Potassium is essential for many body processes and
plays a critical role in the control of blood pressure.
are in season now, from May to September. That means they are
cheaper and probably more plentiful from local growers this
time of year. Yum, yum.
eat watermelon rind. Like the skin of its cucumber cousin, the
green and white layers that surround watermelon’s sweet
flesh is edible. Most recipes are for pickled rinds, however,
so watch out for extra sugar and salt in these products.
watermelons that are firm and feel heavy for their size, say
experts. A good melon will have a yellow spot on its underside
from where it sat on the ground.
your watermelon cool (preferably in the refrigerator) for up
to a week. And make sure to wash the outside before cutting
it. After it’s cut, watermelon will last up to four days if
refrigerated in an airtight container.
forget this old joke as you sit on the back porch spitting
seeds: What did the watermelon say to his honeydew? You’re
very sweet but sorry, we cantaloupe.
Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes
educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey
Peninsula. She is the author of "Quinn-Essential
Nutrition" (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to firstname.lastname@example.org.)