Fancy a super quick and supremely refreshing Summer salad recipe? It doesn’t get faster or fresher than this one from our What To Eat recipe book. It’s such a favourite in our house, that I can throw it together in literally 3 minutes.
And even though the more traditional choice of herbal accompaniment might indeed be mint, trust me – coriander trumps it. Unless you have that incredibly unfortunate genetic defect that has left you stripped of a good appreciation of the best herb on the planet. (Poor soul!)
But why opt for watermelon in a Summer salad? Isn’t it just sugar and water? Not quite.
More Lycopene than tomatoes
A USDA study found that on average, it contains 40% more bioavailable Lycopene than raw tomatoes. Lycopene is one of the most powerful antioxidants discovered to date and is strongly anti-inflammatory and potentially protective against stroke, ovarian cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV).
A great source of the amino acid, Citrulline
Citrulline is efficiently converted into Arginine in the body – a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide is a muscle relaxant which lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular function and helps with erectile dysfunction via the same mechanism as Viagra.
Interestingly, Citrulline has been shown to be much more effective in boosting Nitric Oxide than (the oft-recommended) supplemental Arginine, which the body often metabolises before it can be converted to NO. This explains why Citrulline is such an effective natural treatment for erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disorders. Preliminary research has also demonstrated a potential to improve insulin sensitivity.
Contains Cucurbitacin E
Which has been studied extensively since the 60’s and shown to be a promising therapeutic agent against cancer proliferation (1, 2, 3) as an immunomodulator and for the prevention of neurodegeneration in conditions like Parkinson’s.
It also assists in the treatment of pain and inflammation via the same mechanism as popular COX-2 inhibitors, aspirin and ibuprofen.
Nice Summer salad, but what about the fructose?!
Watermelon contains a reasonable amount of fructose, so for the malabsorbers among us, you may want to skip over this one – or simply enjoy a small portion as a palate cleanser or accompanying side salsa.
For anyone else concerned about fructose, it’s worth noting that the recent hysteria revolves mainly around high-fructose corn syrup and its cousins. There’s still a distinct lack of studies looking at fruit-derived fructose and its effects on healthy folk, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
- 600g of watermelon flesh, cubed (1/4 of a small watermelon)
- 90g feta, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 bunch coriander, very finely chopped (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
- 1/4 small red onion, finely diced
- Juice of 2 small lemons or limes (1/8 cup)
- Pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
I always utilise coriander stems in my day-to-day salads, but if you're wanting to make a more delicate dish when entertaining, it's best to use the leaves only and save the stems and roots for another meal.
So I hope you enjoy my favourite Summer salad. Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear if you’re as impressed with the surprising nutritional components in watermelon as I was!