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Melons sure are cool

With the onset of summer the temperature is steadily increasing and the body will get warmed up with the increased demand for water. Fortunately nature has provided cool fruits with nutrients to quench the thirst.

Melons appear in the market in abundance during the summer season. A slice of melon is one of the refreshing experiences provided by nature for the hot season. Melons are cultivated in sandy soil and needs plenty of irrigation. Melons are of large in size and achieve a diameter of even 20 inches. Melons are creepers and the plant starts bearing fruit within 4 - 5 months after seeds are sown. The fruits are low in calories and high in water content of 95 per cent. Even the seeds of melons are edible.

The botanical name of watermelon is `citrullus vulgaris' and its

origin is from tropical Africa. This fruit is also known as Tarmuj, Tarbuj, Kallangadi, He'nd wend, Thannir mathan, Kalingad, Tarvuja, Tarbuja, Darbusini, Puchakayi in different languages of India.

Watermelons have solid dark green or paler striped skins and red flesh with black seeds embedded in it. Watermelon contains only 16 kcal per 100 gms of edible portion. It has a good amount of iron that is 7.9 mg. per 100 gms. It also has 27.3 mg of sodium and 160 mg of potassium. The seeds can be roasted and eaten.

Watermelon seeds contain 34 gm protein, 52 gm fat, 100 mg calcium, 937 mg phosphorous, 7.4 mg iron and 628 Kilocalories per 100 gm. For calorie watchers it is better to remove seeds before consuming watermelon.

The oil extracted from watermelon seeds is mainly used for lighting lamps and also for certain special culinary preparations. The cake seed is good for cattle feed since it contains good protein content.

Another popular melon is muskmelon or cantaloupe. It belongs to cucumis melon family. It is also known as sweet melon, Kharmuj, Kharbooja, Kherbuj, pottuvellari and Madhupaka. The outer rind of muskmelon has a netted lace like marking. The rind is of a soft and hard variety and has a yellowish orange or a creamish colour.The fruit is eaten as a delicacy because of its typical musk like flavour and taste. The hard skin pulp is rich orange in colour. The soft skin variety will have creamish pulp. They contain only 17kcal per 100 gms, sodium and potassium content is high in muskmelon. In India muskmelon is cultivated mainly

in Punjab, Bihar, Uttar pradesh, Andra pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. It is also grown in other parts of the tropical world. Muskmelon seeds are also edible. They are used mainly in confectioneries and sweet meats. The seed kernel is tasty and is eaten after removal of the outer covering. The seeds can also be dried and roasted in the oven to make a delicious snack. It is rich in protein (36 per cent) and fat (45 per cent).

There is a belief that the muskmelon seeds are good foreczema. Nutritionally melons do not contain appreciable amounts of vitamins and minerals but they are low in calories and high in water content, that is 95 per cent. Muskmelon contains some amount of carotene because of its orange

flesh. Melons are very low in protein, fat, carbohydrates which makes it suitable for weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disorders. Melons are considered to be diuretic as it helps in proper excretion of urine and prevents water retention.#Nutritive value of musk melons per 100 gms

Protein - 0.3 gms

Fat - 0.2 gms

Fibre - 0.4 gms

Carbohydrate - 3.5 gms

Energy - 17 kcal

Iron -1.4 mgs

Carotene - 169 ugs

Sodium- 104.6 mgs

Potassium - 341 mgs#Nutritive value of water melons per 100 gms

Protein - 0.2 gms

Fat - 0.2 gms

Fibre - 0.2 gms

Carbohydrate - 3.3 gms

Energy - 16 kcal

Iron -7.9 mgs

Carotene - 0 ugs

Sodium- 27.3 mgs

Potassium - 160 mgs.

MUMTAZ KHALID ISMAIL

consultant nutritionist and dietician

mumtaz@vsnl.com

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