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Heart Smart Living
Heart Smart Living

Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.

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Watermelon: Summer's Super Fruit

“The watermelon,” declared Mark Twain, “is chief of this world’s luxuries… When one has tasted it, he knows what angels eat.”

Legendary 95-year-old postal worker Chester Reed attributed his longevity to watermelons (along with alkaline water and a daily lunch of onion-and-mayo sandwiches). According to Mr. Reed, “If everyone in the nation ate watermelons, they’d get rid of all the doctors.”

While I don’t expect to be put out of business any time soon, I adore watermelon and look forward to it every summer. Here in Texas, you know it’s getting hot when you start seeing watermelon farmers, their parked pickup trucks straining under the weight of stacks of gorgeous fruit, selling their homegrown produce by the side of country highways.

Not only is watermelon just about the best treat ever, it is also a true super food, bursting with vitamins (especially A and C), antioxidants, and water. At only 40 calories per cup, it’s an indulgence that’s hard to beat. Watermelon is a terrific source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer. (Tomatoes and pink grapefruit are other good sources of this nutrient.) And watermelon supplies important amounts of citrulline, which the body uses to form arginine, an amino acid. Arginine helps to relax the blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow. Sickle cell anemia, erectile dysfunction and diabetes may also benefit from arginine.

To learn more about watermelon and find some great recipes (including Mediterranean Watermelon Salad and Grilled Scallop and Watermelon Kebobs), check out the official watermelon website, www.watermelon.org.

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Tags: Diet and Heart Health

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About the Author


Dr. Samaan is an acclaimed cardiologist, writer, and heart health educator.