Summertime Watermelon Tomato Salad

LIGreenmarket at Long Beach and LIJ enjoyed this refreshing salad this week and so will you!

No other fruit says summertime more than watermelon. So if you want to quench your thirst and re-boost your body with anti-oxidants lycopene, vitamin A and vitamin C, watermelon has everything you need.  Wonderfully delicious, melons are a source of potassium, water and fiber too, as well as amino acids.

The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, watermelon is in the Cucurbitaceous family, a vine-like flowering plant originally from West Africa. Naturally low in calories, one cup provides just 46 calories.

Watermelons have some of the highest levels of lycopene of any type of fresh produce — about 15 to 20 milligrams per 2-cup serving.  Lycopene is a phytonutrient, which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables, an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes, and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. It is the red pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas their color. To really maximize your lycopene intake, let your watermelon fully ripen. The redder your watermelon gets, the higher the concentration of lycopene becomes. Another phytonutrient found in the watermelon is the amino acid citrulline, which converts to the amino acid arginine. These amino acids promote blood flow and improve cardiovascular health.

Just one cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth. Just remember, watermelon lovers, be mindful of your sugar intake, as although watermelon’s sugar is naturally occurring, it is still relatively high in sugar.