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Health benefits of watermelons


The Kiswahili word for watermelon is tikiti. The fruit is never out of season in Kenya which makes it affordable. The cost also depends on your pocket - a slice can go for as little as Sh10 while a whole one goes for Sh 200-400.

Watermelon is refreshing as it is about 92 percent water. It also a good source fibre and has significant levels of Vitamins A, B6 and C. It also has a lot of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits including sunlight protection, improved heart health and lower risk of certain types of cancer). Actually, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. It also has other beneficial nutrients such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene and betaine. Quite a long list, right?

So how do you choose the best watermelon? That can be tricky but always go for one that doesn’t have bruises, cuts or dents. Heavier is better, it should not be shiny and should not have a full sound when you hit it. Look for a yellow circle which shows it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun (and not in storage because it was picked too soon). If all else fails, you can simply ask the vendor to cut a small piece so that you can taste it.

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