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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Paving the Way for Healthier Schools Nationwide

shutterstock_152942660In 2012 Massachusetts was one of the first states to adopt ground-breaking nutrition standards in its public schools with the goal of reducing childhood obesity and promoting healthy growth and development. According to a new study led by Northeastern University in Boston, the Bay State has done an exemplary job of demonstrating how quickly others can adapt to health-driven initiatives.

The NOURISH Study (Nutrition Opportunities to Understand Reforms Involving Student Health) included nearly 75 schools in 37 districts across the state. Though the new standards have only been in effect for about a year, researchers noted significant improvements already in regulating unhealthy food and drink items. Compliance rates for the new standards increased from 13% to 69% in middle schools and from 28% to 80% in high schools.

Artificial sweeteners, white bread, and trans fats are among those items banned altogether in Massachusetts schools (fryolators are now prohibited), and additional restrictions have been placed on sodium, fat and sugar content. Perhaps most importantly, the new standards apply to so-called competitive foods—those foods and beverages sold in vending machines and school stores, or offered as à la carte items in lunchrooms.

In 2014 similar requirements went into effect for all U.S. schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (under the “Smart Snacks in School” regulation), but those requirements have been met with considerable resistance. Authors of this study hope their findings—published online this month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—will help institutions across the country see how easy it can be to embrace healthier standards for children and teens.

Sources:
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/07/massachusetts_nutrition_law_ha.html
http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/19914/20150728/massachusetts-new-school-nutrition-standards-make-significant.htm
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/massachusetts-schools-improving-food-options-for-students-072315.html
http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(15)00507-9/abstract
http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/mass-in-motion/school-nutrition-guide.pdf
http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp
http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/tools-schools-focusing-smart-snacks

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