Watermelon time – to chill or not?!

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Watermelon is one of our family’s favorite summer fruits! Not only will it help to keep your hydrated, watermelon is also a wonderful source of phytonutrients, especially lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives many fruits and veggies like tomatoes, pink guavas, pink/red grapefruit and watermelon their color. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in food and may play a significant role in preventing several common cancers, including lung, prostate and stomach cancers, and may reduce your risk of developing colorectal, pancreatic, oral, esophageal, cervical, and breast cancer.  Lycopene is also known for helping to reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, which can lower heart disease risk and slow macular degeneration.

Prep Smart Tip: Since research has shown that up to 40% more lycopene is formed at room temperature, as compared to when chilled, you may want to leave whole watermelon on the counter for several days before serving, to maximize the lycopene content. Once cut, it is important to refrigerate any leftovers promptly! Need a recipe idea for watermelon? Try my Citrus-Infused 50-50 Salad!  For more info about lycopene and preventing cancer with your fork, check out A Powerful Tool for Cancer Prevention.   or http://pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/nutrition/how-lycopene-helps-protect-against-cancer

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