Tag: Nutrition

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut Health: The link between gut bacteria and cancer risk and response

Gut bacteria: The key to health All disease begins in the gut. ~ Hippocrates We have 70 trillion cells in our body. And we have 100 trillion cells in our gut. Meaning the gut bacteria we house far outnumber our own cells. There’s a reason […]

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Cleanse your system the fun way The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to […]

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Watermelon is good, and good for you

Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is amazing! So I get a giant watermelon and find all sorts of ways to eat it.

And because I’m oh-so-curious about the health benefits of everything I consume, I did a little background research, and it turns out it really is a whole lot more than water!

It also just so happens that watermelon is very detox-friendly, which is great for my current cleanse efforts. There’s even a few versions of a watermelon detox diet that calls for eating or drinking pretty much just watermelon for a couple days. It’s great for cleansing because watermelon is low calorie and since it’s made up of 92% water, it’s extremely hydrating.

While I’ve never gone full-on watermelon, I have been incorporating watermelon into my summer cleanse recipes as much as possible, and here’s why.

 

watermelon health benefits

Top health benefits of watermelon

Kidney Health. Beyond being simply hydrating, one of the primary benefits of watermelons is that it improves kidney function. It acts as a mild diuretic and due to this kidney-cleansing property, it has a history of being used to treat kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Watermelon contains high amounts of calcium and potassium, which aid the kidneys in flushing out toxins and reducing the concentration of uric acid.

Heart and Bone Health. Watermelon also has the highest percentage of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable – it contains 18mg in two cups compared to just 4mg in a medium tomato. High lycopene consumption is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and improved bone health. The deeper the red, the higher the lycopene concentration, so, the riper the better!

Cancer Treatment and Prevention. Bonus – lycopene has been directly linked to cancer prevention and treatment. Research indicates that lycopene can induce apoptosis of cancer cells, interrupt cancer cell growth, and regulate carcinogen metabolism. Lycopene also reduces insulin growth, which is a key component of fighting cancer

Blood cleanser. Watermelons also contain high amounts of citrulline, an amino acid that is converted into arginine by the kidneys and other organs. This conversion is thought to improve blood flow, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health as well as filtration of the blood, which by definition ‘cleanses’ the blood.

Insulin regulation and Weight Loss. And interestingly, evidence from health studies indicate that the more this citrulline-arginine conversion happens, the better your body is able to prevent the excess accumulation of fat cells. So for anyone watching their weight, eat up!

Furthermore, a study on obese, diabetic patients found that L-arginine had a significantly beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Inflammation-fighter. Furthermore, these two amino acids have been found in research studies to reduce inflammation, which is an underlying factor in many diseases, including cancer. Evidence indicates that watermelon itself can improve inflammation.

Antioxidants. Watermelon contains a good amount of antioxidants, which are crucial for combatting oxidative stress. This is extremely important for our overall health because oxidative stress is associated with damage to DNA, biological membranes, and proteins in humans. Consuming sufficient antioxidant-rich foods can help combat this oxidative stress by mitigating the harmful effects of free radicals.

Digestion aid. Watermelon’s high water and fiber content also aid in digestion. It eases constipation and promotes regularity.

…I could go on, as watermelon and its health-boosting properties have been associated with easing muscle soreness, lowering blood pressure, improving skin, and more. Phew!

 

watermelon health benefits, vegan watermelon feta salad

Watermelon every day, every way

So, perhaps needless to say, I’ve been making extra efforts to get more of this pretty melon in my system. Watermelon is delicious in its own right, but I’ve done juices, smoothies, cold soups, and even salads.

I love putting watermelon in my salads, especially with cucumber. Now, I have always been a fan of combination watermelon – feta combo. It strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory: it’s juicy and tangy, light and rich, crisp and chewy.

But of course since I aim to be dairy-free, I swapped out the animal feta for my simple vegan feta. While it’s not quite the same, the flavor profile hits the mark.

I put it on a bed of arugula because I love the contrast of the bitterness arugula provides in this recipe, but other greens like spinach or chard work well! Cucumber adds another refreshing touch, and I top it with avocado, seeds to add a little crunch, mint if I have it on hand, a drizzle of lemon and olive oil and a little seasoning. Delish!

So here’s my simple version of vegan watermelon feta salad!

 

cleanse-friendly watermelon vegan feta salad recipe

Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • handful of arugula (or greens of choice)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp vegan feta
  • pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • mint, fresh or dried (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make:

  1. Assemble your salad (put all the ingredients in a bowl).
  2. Eat up!

Cheers!

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

 Detox Me, Maybe? Juice cleanses. Detox programs. Cleanse supplements and detox teas. These days, these products are ubiquitous in the world of wellness and nutrition. But what’s all the hype about? Why is detoxing beneficial and really – is it? As with all things health […]

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Pass the Cheese Please… Or not. So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled […]

Quick and Easy Raw Vegan Feta Cheese

Quick and Easy Raw Vegan Feta Cheese

Dairy-free’s the way to be

Being dairy-free certainly has its advantages. I feel great, my skin seems to have improved, and my eczema doesn’t flare anymore. But it also has its downsides: cheese! Or the lack thereof to be clear. Like many others who cut dairy from their diets, I miss cheese tremendously. All of it. Pretty much the only varieties I didn’t like were Swiss and cream cheese (weird? yea maybe. don’t ask me why but I never liked either).

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Freedom from sugar: Sugar addiction and our health

Freedom from sugar: Sugar addiction and our health

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Yesterday was July 4th – Independence Day. We declared our independence in the name of freedom, in the name of liberty and justice, in the name of individual rights and the pursuit of happiness. A day dedicated to […]

Clean Green Soup: A vegan cancer fighting machine

Clean Green Soup: A vegan cancer fighting machine

The S Factor Anytime I overindulge a bit in the food department and stray from my typical healthy eating habits (hi bachelorette, reunion, and wedding all within 9 days), I revert to the S factor: really Simple eating, comprised primarily of soups, salads, and smoothies, […]

Sugar: The Dietary Devil, and why you should cut sugar

Sugar: The Dietary Devil, and why you should cut sugar

The White Devil

Unless you’ve been completely disconnected from reality, you know that the sugar skeleton is finally out of the nutrition closet. It’s worse than gluten, it’s worse than dairy, and yes, it’s even worse than fat. (more…)

Why Eat Raw: Benefits of a raw food diet (and when not to go raw)

Why Eat Raw: Benefits of a raw food diet (and when not to go raw)

Eat Raw like a rabbit Perhaps you’ve heard of the raw food diet and the raw food recipes that cater to it. I myself have sprinkled in the term raw here on this blog: just yesterday I posted my own raw vegan carrot cake cupcakes, […]