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Posts Tagged ‘lycopene’

Watermelon… it is almost synonymous with summer. Juicy, sweet, colorful and versatile, this nutrition-packed fruit is the perfect treat on a hot day. Read on to learn more facts about watermelon…

NationalWatermelonDayHeader

Nutrition

Red watermelon is a good source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that gives watermelon its color. Lycopene may reduce the risk of heart disease and a growing list of cancers.

Watermelon is also rich in vitamin C. In fact, just 1 cup of watermelon provides about 20 percent of our daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C may reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

To get the maximum amount of nutrients:

  • Pick melons when they are fully ripe. This prevents losses of vitamin C and carotenoids while waiting to ripen.
  • Consume melons within 5‐7 days of bringing them home.
  • Store melons whole and slightly below room temperature.
    • Once cut, leftover melon needs to be stored in the refrigerator, although storing melons cut‐up decreases vitamin C and carotenoids. Freezing melons preserves vitamin C but causes losses of other vitamins and phytonutrients.

Selection: How do you pick a good one?

Ohio State University Extension offers these tips for Selecting Ohio Melons:

  • “Examine the spot where the melon has been resting on the ground. A yellow-white spot indicates ripeness—white or pale green suggests immaturity.
  • Scratch the surface of the rind with your thumbnail. If the outer layer slips back with little resistance showing the green-white under the rind, the watermelon is ripe. Scratching unripe melons only leaves a darker depressed line.
  • Choose a melon with a smooth surface, dull sheen, and well-rounded ends.
  • Some experts recommend a “hollow” sound when tapped indicates ripeness. Others feel that “thumping” will not necessarily get you a ripe melon.
  • White seeds usually indicate the melon was picked too early.”

Fun Facts from the Watermelon Board:

  • Watermelon is 92% water.
  • Watermelon’s scientific name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in 2013, weighing in at 350.5 lbs.
  • The United States currently ranks 6th in worldwide production of watermelon.
  • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

For more information and tasty recipes using watermelon, check out these websites:

The Watermelon Board

USDA Mixing Bowl

Sources:

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Melons (PDF|342KB). Ohio State University Extension.

Recipes with Watermelon. USDA Mixing Bowl.

The Watermelon Board

 

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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power up your salad

Choose colorful vegetables and greens for a nutritious meal.  Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients.  Although paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones – these contain the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula leaves and add red leaf lettuce.   Spinach contains almost twice the amount of iron of most other greens and is an essential source of nitric oxide which helps dilate the arteries and deliver oxygen.  Arugula is rich in cancer fighting phytochemicals.

Add in tomatoes which are loaded with lycopene- great for your skin and bones.  Black beans, chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg all are good sources of lean protein.  Toss in carrots (great source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C) and artichokes, which aids in digestion.

Add fruits in season, mixed berries, oranges, apples or pears.  Toss with a healthy option salad dressing that is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat.  Olive oil and vinegar may be a simple tasteful choice.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD,  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

 

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Many people grow a few tomatoes in their backyard.  They can be planted in the landscaping, in a container on your patio, or you may have enough space for a garden.  If you are a home grower you may have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  Of course, you’re first thought might be to eat them fresh, but if you have grown tired of this here are some ideas to include them in dishes you make.

  • If your recipe calls for peeled and/or seeded tomatoes, hold in boiling water for 30 seconds, plunge into cold water, drain, make a slit in the blossom end and peel skins back.
  • Seed by cutting the tomato in half crosswise and remove seeds with the tip of a knife or spoon.
  • Slice tomatoes the French way, from stem to blossom by doing so they lose less juice.
  • Top with fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, or curry powder.
  • Stuff large tomatoes with a variety of mixtures such as fish, poultry, egg salad, or cottage cheese.
  • Stuff cherry tomatoes for bite-size appetizers. To prepare, slice off tops and a very thin slice off the bottom, so they will stand well. Remove seeds and juice with a melon scoop. Stuff with your favorite fillings—cream cheese and watercress; tuna and mayonnaise; pulverized peanuts, mayonnaise and curry powder; or avocado, minced onion, and lemon juice.
  • For an elegant salad or appetizer, layer sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella cheese on lettuce. Dress lightly with olive oil.
  • Tomatoes get better and better tasting as you cook them. They are great in entrees that cook a long time or require next day “reheating.”

A four-ounce tomato supplies about one-third of your daily nutrient needs for vitamin C, and a little beta carotene, potassium, folate, iron and fiber.  They also contain lycopene an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of prostate and possibly other cancers.  Lycopene is more easily absorbed in cooked than in raw tomatoes.

If you are interested in preserving some of your tomatoes check out the following fact sheets:

Canning Basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5338.pdf

Canning Tomatoes http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5336.pdf

Canning Tomato Products http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5337.pdf

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Extension Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Tomatoes available at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hygfact/5000/pdf/5532.pdf

University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Made Easy

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