6 Reasons to Love Watermelon

WatermelonEarlier this month we celebrated National Watermelon Day—and with good reason! In addition to being a refreshing summer treat, the fruit-slash-vegetable is loaded with beneficial nutrients known to support health. Here are six great reasons to grab a slice (or a few) before the season is over:

Heart Helper
Scientists at Florida State University recently found that the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine found in watermelon may protect against heart disease. In addition to improving circulation, they support the health of the arteries around the heart and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Inflammation Fighter
Watermelon is rich in lycopene (which gives it its red color) and choline—two nutrients valued for their beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. Together, they support a healthy inflammation response in the body to promote immunity and overall health.

Thirst Quencher
Did you know watermelons are more than 90% water? On hot days, eating the fruit can help you stay hydrated as well as replace important electrolytes lost when you sweat.

Tummy Aid
Combined with its high water content, the fiber in watermelon supports healthy digestion and regularity. Watermelon is also low in sugar, which means it benefits the good bacteria in your gut.

Skin and Hair Supporter
Watermelon contains a healthy dose of vitamin A and vitamin C, which together support healthy cell and tissue growth. In addition, vitamin A helps produce a substance called sebum that keeps hair and skin moisturized

Muscle Motivator
Try adding watermelon to your post-workout nourishment. Its amino acids work to improve circulation and help maintain a healthy heart rate. They also support muscle health and help reduce next-day soreness.

Sources:
https://www.fsu.edu/news/2010/10/13/watermelon.study/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130820-watermelon-nutrition-health-food-science/
http://www.livescience.com/46019-watermelon-nutrition.html
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/08/03/celebrate-national-watermelon-day-with-this-watermelon-gazpacho-recipe
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/21/watermelon-nutrition.aspx
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2015/07/28/Nutritious-watermelon-not-just-summer-dessert/stories/201508040003
http://www.watermelon.org/

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Make Your Own Sauerkraut!

SauerkrautWith all the good things we’ve been hearing about fermented foods lately, chances are you’ve been adding a few more of them to your grocery cart. Foods and beverages like yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, kefir, and cultured vegetables are rich in beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut in balance and support good digestion and health. Below is a super simple recipe for homemade sauerkraut you can prepare right in your kitchen!

Homemade Sauerkraut
30 minutes to prepare, 7+ days to ferment
Serves 16

Ingredients:
5 tbsp. fine sea salt
1 quart purified water
2 heads red and/or green cabbage, cored and shredded

Directions:
Combine 3 tbsp. salt plus water in a large bowl. Let sit until salt dissolves completely. Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle even with 1 tbsp. salt. Massage and squeeze cabbage thoroughly with your hands so the natural juices of the cabbage are released. Transfer cabbage and juices to ten 12-ounce wide-mouth glass jars or a 1-gallon crock, pressing the cabbage down tightly. The juices should completely cover the cabbage. If not, add brine to submerge. The liquid should be no closer than 1 inch from the lid. If the cabbage floats above the liquid, you will need to weigh it down with a plate or lid.

Leave jars or crock in a dark, warm place in your kitchen (such as a pantry or cabinet). Allow cabbage to ferment for at least 7 days, loosening and retightening the lid (if you are using jars) every 3 days to release pressure. Check regularly to be sure the cabbage remains submerged, adding more brine if necessary.

After 7 days, taste the sauerkraut. If it is not to your liking, wait another day and taste again, and so on until it reaches the desired flavor. At that time, move the jars to the refrigerator to slow any further fermentation and to set the flavor. If you’ve used a large crock, portion the sauerkraut into jars or glass storage containers to store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

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