One-Tip Wonder

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.

Virginia Hendry
BA, Dip Ed, DipCNM (NT) (BANT, ANP and CNHC)