Want to dish up "healthy party foods" that reduce body-fat and help you lose weight in the process? Munch on a few cups of sweet, juicy California watermelon, a healthy "Party Girl Diet" approved "healthy party food" for its amazing superfood powers with sensational health and weight loss benefits that almost seem too good to be true...but they are. In fact, watermelon, a summer party food favorite, owes its status as one of the top "superfoods" in part to its abundance of the phytonutrient lycopene, a super anti-oxidant found in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, which works behind the scenes to improve everything from cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure when consumed in large amounts, to increasing bone health by reducing oxidative stress on the two major bone cells involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Protect your skin and eyes by consuming watermelon. That's right. Super powers of the superfood watermelon also include helping the skin cells' ability to protect against the damaging effects of the sun's UV rays. Lycopene also possesses tissue healing abilities that can reduce the recovery time from a mild sunburn. Research shows snacking on approximately 2 cups of this juicy fruit daily can slash your sunburn risk by 26 percent. Keep in mind, while impressive, this is not to suggest watermelon consumption be used as a replacement for proper sunscreen use. In addition, the rich red hue of watermelon comes from betacarotene - which is converted to vitamin A in the body and helps protect your peepers from age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.
At only 46 calories a cup, watermelon is a great source of vitamin C, A, potassium, and magnesium. Serving up a tray of fresh, California Watermelon is a delicious way to sneak in a powerhouse of nutrition for your whole family.
Click here for Safeway Culinary Kitchens Executive Chef Jeff Anderson's healthy party food recipe: Black Bean Watermelon Salsa (pictured on this page) airing on CALIFORNIA LIVING® with host Aprilanne Hurley this season.
How to lose weight eating watermelon: In addition to lycopene, a super phytonutrient reviewed in detail in the Party Girl Diet for its super health benefits, watermelon contains the amino acid L-Citrulline, which has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Yes, you read that right. Without getting all scientific on you, basically through a series of steps, L-Citrulline helps our fat cells create less fat - which then in turn help prevent the over-production of body fat.
Although we have understood the importance of Lycopene for a number of years, we are learning about another nutrient contained within watermelon that is incredibly potent: L-Citrulline. L-Citrulline is present in watermelon at levels which are higher than any other food that we know of in the world. (...) Also, current research suggests that L-Citrulline encourages weight loss and improved weight maintenance. In animal research, there is strong evidence that L-Citrulline contributes to the production of fat antagonists, preventing fat cells from absorbing fat by blocking an enzyme known as TNAP. ~ The Conscious Evolution Institute
Watermelon has also long been touted as a natural diuretic - which in essence help the increase flow of urine without a strain on the kidneys which can be apparent with other known diuretics such as coffee and alcohol.
When it comes to incorporating California watermelon into your diet - your only limitation is your imagination. In addition to eating it sliced as a refreshing BBQ or picnic party snack or dessert, you can create delicious, healthy Party Girl Diet inspired recipes to enjoy everyday with fresh watermelon such as:
- Mix it. Dust fresh cubes of watermelon with Chile Powder and toss in your savory rice and grain dishes
- Serve it. Halve the watermelon, cut out insides and use in a healthy fruit salad served in the watermelon shell at your next summer party.
- Side dish it. Use a melon ball scooper to make up a bunch of watermelon balls and add them to summer drinks and desserts
- Slice it. Serve sliced chilled watermelon as refreshingly healthy side dish on hot summer days (While commonly considered a fruit, watermelon is actually a relative of the vegetable family by the way).
- Drink it. Mash up 3/4 cups cut up watermelon cubes or balls in a cocktail shaker, add a shot of vodka, ice and a 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain straight up into a martini glass to create to refreshing, healthy Party Girl Diet inspired watermelon martini.
According to a UC Davis agriculture report, California watermelon season runs May through October. So now is the time to stock up on this healthy produce and enjoy it guilt free - everyday...knowing this super-healthy treat will help you protect your family's health, heart, bones and skin this summer in every sweet n' juicy bite.