As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, I am frequently asked for “tips” from countless friends and family members suffering from a multitude of ailments, from arthritis to gut disorders and many more serious conditions.
I try to explain to them that what I do is not comprised of “tips” but seeks to identify the root cause of the disorder and so, as the Institute of Functional Medicine exhorts, to “treat the individual, not the disease”. The reasons my Aunty Anne suffers from arthritis, will not be the same reasons for my mother-in-law’s arthritis, and so different issues must be addressed.
Nonetheless, I do find myself passing on a multitude of “tips” when asked, because there are many little choices that we make every day – about what we do or what we eat – that when added up can have a huge impact on our wellness.
So, here’s one for you now, and it’s seasonal. If you choose one in-season fruit this summer let it be watermelon. Watermelon offers a multitude of nutritional and health benefits beyond just its beautifully thirst-quenching qualities.
It contains a huge array of vitamins such as A, C, E and folate as well as other B vitamins, and minerals like iron (yes, really, it can help build your iron levels), calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, manganese, and the list goes on.
It also contains amino acids like L-citrulline, which has powerful benefits to the body, including its ability to support the kidneys and liver. Its other amazingly helpful amino acids include tryptophan, arginine, leucine and lysine, as well as an amino acid derivative called choline, which is known for its key role in learning and memory.
Perhaps its real superstar qualities, however, are found in its many phytochemicals. These are compounds plants have developed to protect themselves from ultra-violet light and predators and they work as antioxidants in our bodies when we eat the plants, helping us to also live long and prosper.
The list of phytochemicals in watermelons is extensive and impressive: quercetin, lycopene, kaempferol and rutin, which all do amazing and complex work in the body, but which together fight inflammation, help protect the heart, and help keep our cells relaxed, young and beautiful.
And last, but not least, watermelon is a delicious treat which can satisfy sweet cravings without spiking blood sugar, since a typical 120g portion size has a lovely low glycaemic load of only 5. So, while this refreshing summer star is in the supermarkets, feel free to tuck in with gusto.
BA, Dip Ed, DipCNM (NT) (BANT, ANP and CNHC)