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Learn to Love: Watermelon

I was accused of being unpatriotic when I expressed a distaste for watermelon at an Independence Day barbecue a few years ago. My hostess forced a piece upon me, and I have been eating the melon ever since. Which is a boon to my diet, since there are so many healthful reasons to love this melon.

For starters, this red and juicy melon is one of the few foods high in the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, along with tomatoes and pink grapefruit — remember, antioxidants also provide color to fruits and veggies along with phytonutrients. Watermelon is also a low-calorie food and one cup of melon balls contains just under 50 calories. Being 92 percent water, the melon makes for a great post-workout treat on a hot day since it will help replace fluids lost through sweating.

Considered a cooling food, the yellow variety of watermelon might help you heat things up in the bedroom. Research out of Texas (the largest producer of the seedless variety of the melon) indicates that watermelon has an effect on the human body similar to Viagra. Learn more.

The big red fruit cannot completely replace the little blue pill, but it does contain citrulline, which jump-starts production of a chemical compound that helps relax the body's blood vessels, similar to Viagra. Melon, however, is just not "organ specific" and can benefit the entire cardiovascular system. However, citrulline is found in higher concentrations in yellow watermelon, not red. Looks like you can't get your lycopene hit with the benefits of citrulline.

Do you love watermelon?

Image Source: Getty
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