A recent study developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns against storing the watermelon in the fridge before eating it. They advise people to keep and eat watermelon at room temperature unless they want the delicious fruit to lose its beneficial effects it has upon our health. When cold, watermelon has less vitamins and nutrients as compared with watermelon preserved at normal temperature.
The scientists that carried out the investigation also found that watermelon continues to produce vitamins and nutrients after being picked up, but this also happens when kept at room temperature. When conserved at lower temperature, the nutrients producing process slows down.
The research team stored for 14 days several common varieties of watermelon at 70, 55 and 41 degrees temperatures. After the 14 day period they analyzed the watermelons and found that the ones kept at 70 degrees temperature had considerably lower nutritious elements that the ones preserved at 41 degrees.
However, watermelons stored at 70 degrees temperature produced 40% more lycopene and 50% to 139% more beta-carotene than when being picked up.
"All watermelons used in our study had been selected by commercial growers as fully ripe when harvested," the scientists informed. "The usual shelf life for watermelons is 14 to 21 days at 55 F after harvest," they added.
It is highly recommended to eat watermelon during summer in order to keep our bodies hydrated and refreshed, as it contains 90% water. The high content of water makes watermelons very beneficial when used in weight loss programs, too. Watermelons are also laden with vitamin A and C, betacarotene, lycopen, iron, zinc, potassium and other nutritive minerals - which makes them twice as efficient in all kinds of diets, as they help us lose weight or stay fit and also give the body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to continue functioning in an appropriate manner.
Watermelon is extremely beneficial for our health due to the high content of iron - as rich in iron as spinach is -, lycopene and antioxidants. Iron as a nutritive mineral boosts energy in our bodies, makes us active and provides us with stamina. Iron also plays a decisive role in the growth and physical development of children and teenagers, as it helps their bodies grow in a healthy and harmonious way. Lack of iron in the body leads to anemia and related disorders.
After tomatoes, watermelons are the second richest lycopene source. Lycopene is very important for our health, as it is a very potent antioxidant that protects us against free radicals. It is a naturally occurring red pigment in plants that is a powerful anti-cancer agent.
The study was conducted by Penelope Perkins-Veazie and Julie Collins of the USDA's South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Lane, Oklahoma, and their findings are going to be published this month in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.