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Watermelon

Super Summer Sweets

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For many summers, I've considered watermelon a sugary self-indulgence. As it turns out, watermelon is an excellent, nutritious superfood that provides 40 percent more lycopene than tomatoes, and it doesn't need to be cooked to provide the powerful antioxidants credited with fighting prostate, lung, colon and other cancers.

  A 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture study indicated eating watermelon also increases the amino acids arginine and citrulline, which help maintain arteries, blood flow and cardiovascular function.

  Just one cup of watermelon, which only has 46 calories, provides 11.1 percent of the vitamin A, 24.3 percent of the vitamin C, 1 percent of the calcium and 2 percent of the iron you need each day. It also has vitamin B6, beta carotene, thiamin, potassium, magnesium and 1 gram of fiber.

  A taste hint: In Israel and Egypt, the salty taste of feta cheese often is paired with sweet watermelon.

Watermelon Soup

Servings: Six, 3/4 cups each

6 cups cubed ripe watermelon

1/2 cup cubed cantaloupe (for garnish)

1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber

3 Tablespoon lime juice (more to taste)

3/4 cup cold water

2-by-1/2-inch strip of orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice (more to taste)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint (garnish)

6 teaspoons plain yogurt

  Combine 1 cup diced watermelon, 1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced deseeded cucumber and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  Place remaining 5 cups watermelon and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a blender. Add ginger, orange zest, orange juice and water. Blend until smooth. (Taste the mixture and add more lime juice or orange juice to taste). Refrigerate about two hours or put in freezer for an hour for thicker, colder soup.

  When ready to serve, pour 3/4 cup of the soup into six separate bowls (if you put the soup in the freezer, you may want to put it back in the blender briefly on a medium speed to make it smooth). Stir the diced melon and cucumber mixture before you divide it among the soup bowls. Place a 1 teaspoon dollop of yogurt in the middle of each bowl and garnish with chopped mint.

Nutrition information per serving:

65 calories

0 g. fat

0 g. cholesterol

16 g. carbohydrate

1 g. protein

1 g. fiber

Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 carbohydrate

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