Watermelons are considered a vine-like flowering plant that is actually native to Southern Africa, and it is there that the wild varieties are in the greatest abundance, ranging from super sweet to bitter, and varying in size as well. They moved north to Egypt, and were cultivated in the Nile River Valley, and eventually moved east into China, roughly 1,000 years ago. Now, watermelon is grown around the world, and in 44 of the 50 states in America. It is specifically selected to grow larger and juicier, resulting in the huge fruits that many of us are familiar with. The green outer rind is hard and fleshy, and rarely eaten, while the interior is soft, red or pink flesh containing the many seeds; this is the part of watermelon which is typically eaten.
As for accessing the total medicinal benefits of watermelons, it is highly dependent on the variety of watermelon and the ripeness. Beta carotene and lycopene is usually bio-available in the highest quantities once the watermelon is completely ripe, and don’t be afraid to eat some of the watermelon rind; there are quite a few nutrients in there as well, particularly the roughage and fiber.
These components of watermelons contribute to its major impact on health; let’s explore some more details of those benefits below.