Watermelon is cold, sweet and refreshing and provides a safe reliable fluid in many desert regions of the world. Watermelon is considered a rejuvenating blood tonic and very alkalinizing. It is also antibacterial, antioxidant, anticoagulating, a digestive aid, diuretic, and laxative. It lubricates the intestines and has an affinity for the bladder, kidney, stomach and heart. Watermelon is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and silicon. It actually has half as much sugar as an apple, yet tastes sweeter, because it is mostly (92%) water. Watermelon contains the red pigment, lycopene which is proving to prevent cancer. It also contains glutathione, which guards against cataract formation. Watermelon helps lift the spirits from depression and has been used to improve halitosis, hangover, mouth sores, sore throat, and urethral pain. Watermelon makes an ideal food during a cleanse.
When the white spot that touches the ground, turns yellow or cream colored, it indicates ripeness. Avoid melons with a green or white belly. Select a melon heavy for its size. When the melon is thumped, it should have a dull, hollow sound. If the skin is scraped with one’s nail and it comes off easily, the melon is ripe. Smell for a sweet fragrance. Best to enjoy watermelon alone, but try it with other melons in a fruit salad or juice it. Enjoy a cool watermelon sorbet.
Watermelon rind contains chlorophyll and can be eaten (close to the skin) or run through a juicer for building the blood and strengthening the glands. In some parts of South America, watermelon rind is applied to the temples and forehead to cool a headache. Watermelon pulp is used topically to treat heat rash and burns. The black watermelon seeds are a traditional remedy for strengthening the kidneys. The seeds, juice and pink flesh can all be juiced together. They contain curcurbocitrin which dilates the capillaries. Look for watermelons with seeds and eat them! I promise, a melon won’t grow in your belly.
There are several ways to do a watermelon fast.
1) Eat watermelon
This is my absolute favorite way to do a cleanse on watermelon. Simply slice or cube your watermelon and consume it whenever you are hungry. Watermelon is so easy to eat and simply refreshing!
For me personally I find that one fairly large watermelon is enough for one day of watermelon fasting. I’m not sure exactly what size our watermelons are but I estimate they are usually around ten pounds.
I eat about a quarter of a watermelon for a meal and have about three or four meals of watermelon each day, depending on my appetite. Since watermelon is so low in calories and about 92 percent water, you can eat as much as you like, as long as you are not feeling over-full.
I prefer not to place the watermelon in the fridge because it is much easier on the stomach when at room temperature. So I prepare the amount I will use at each meal and plan to consume the whole melon before the end of the day. If there is any leftover I will refrigerate it and use it for smoothies during the week.
2) Watermelon juice
You can also put your watermelon through a juicer to create a refreshing juice. One advantage of this method is that you can include the rind, so long as you can find a source of organic watermelon.
Watermelon rind contains a higher concentration of minerals and helps to balance the sweetness from the watermelon flesh. The rind also has more of the amino acid citrulline, which scientists believe is the main ingredient responsible for watermelon’s Viagra-like effects.
3) Watermelon smoothies
You can also blend chopped watermelon to create a blended juice. Because watermelon is so high in liquid there is no need to strain your juice. Simply fill up your blender with watermelon, blend until smooth and enjoy!
In this method you can also include the seeds, which have an added bonus of helping to cleanse the colon, due to their high fiber content. Watermelon seeds are also a very rich source of zinc.
4) Gourmet watermelon cleanse
If you find the idea of simply eating watermelon and drinking the juice a bit too boring, you can experiment with different watermelon recipes. This may reduce the intensity of the cleanse slightly due to the addition of extra ingredients, but you will still get good results.
Why not try blending watermelon with fresh mint and a squeeze of lime to make a watermelon mojito? Or start with a base of watermelon, adding a mixture of diced tropical fruits and/or vegetables, such as mango, cucumber, tomato, cilantro and chili to make watermelon gazpacho.
You might even consider a watermelon salad with other ingredients such as arugula and avocado. But for the best cleansing results you will want to stick with just fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
One of the primary health benefits of watermelon is that it improves the function of the kidneys and it has a history of use for the treatment of kidney stones andurinary tract infections. This is not only due to its very high percentage of water but also because watermelon is a mild diuretic (promotes urine flow). Another good reason to do a watermelon fast on the weekend is because you will need very frequent trips to the bathroom!
Another advantage of eating watermelon or doing a watermelon fast that will be of particular interest to male readers is that it contains citrulline, which stimulates nitric oxide, relaxing and expanding blood vessels in a similar way to the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. It may also have a libido-enhancing effect. In addition, citrulline improves cardiovascular function, helping to maintain blood flow within the heart.
Watermelon also has the highest concentration of lycopene - an important antioxidant – than any other fruit or vegetable, including tomatoes. Two cups of watermelon contains 18mg of lycopene, whereas a medium tomato contains only 4mg. A high intake of lycopene is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as protection from breast and prostate cancer.
Is Watermelon Fasting For You?
Most healthy adults can safely undertake a one or two day watermelon fast, however there are a few situations where watermelon fasting is not advisable.
Check with your primary health care provider before undertaking a cleanse on watermelon if you have a history of kidney disease, liver disease and cardiovascular conditions. It is also not recommended to do a watermelon fast if you are diabetic, hypoglycemic or have glaucoma, optic nerve disorders, detached retina, or other serious eye problems.
Detox symptoms such as headaches and fatigue are common when undertaking a watermelon fast, especially for those who are new to cleansing and detox diets. Discontinue the fast at any time if these symptoms become too uncomfortable.
A watermelon fast can be a great way to get started with a healthy eating plan because it resets your appetite, eliminating cravings for unhealthy foods. But it is also possible to have too much of a good thing.
I like to do watermelon fasts occasionally, maybe once a month, or sometimes for several weeks in a row, but it is important to be aware that too much watermelon, in those who are sensitive, might place an excessive strain on the kidneys and digestive system.
You don’t need to do a watermelon fast every weekend but they can be very beneficial to increase your motivation at the beginning of a new healthy eating plan, or to promote a feeling of lightness and support detoxification after a period of indulgence.
If you are looking for a way to get back on track after the holidays a watermelon fast may be the ideal way to go. Just remember to introduce other foods gradually, starting with other fruits and then smoothies and simple salads, keeping in mind that your goal is to create a diet that you can happily follow as a lifestyle approach to healthy eating.