Watermelon Benefits for Hepatitis C and Liver Cirrhosis
Summertime is exciting for me because it is height of the fresh produce season. The warm sun promises we will have low prices and abundant nutrition in the produce aisle, or at local farmer’s markets. I’ve already had 3 watermelons this month! Just for fun I looked up the nutritional content on the internet. Wow! I have always thought of watermelon as a poor man’s fruit. I guess that’s because they’re inexpensive and can feed a whole house full plus company. They also make for great entertainment what with the seed spitting contests or throwing the rinds to the neighbor’s pigs. (I don’t know if they wanted us to, but we did it anyway just to watch em waller over to the fence)
I grew up on fresh produce. My Granddaddy and his brothers had a wholesale produce market. I spent many childhood days watching the trucks come and go from the dock. I played in the big walk-in coolers, climbing up boxes of grapefruit, apples, and big burlap sacks full of potatoes. There were Jubilee and Rattlesnake watermelons from Georgia and Florida. But nothing was better than when the Black Diamond Watermelons start coming north in those big trucks. It is still the delight of every Okie.
Oklahoman’s pride themselves on eating good watermelon. The trouble is that the biggest ones come from Hope, Arkansas or from Texas. It’s the truth. Granddaddy said so. He saw a 75 lb watermelon one time. He would have loved the internet. He always told us kids that the best thing in the world for you was good fruit and plenty of it. What he didn’t know was just how right he was.
I think you too will be surprised at the liver loving benefits of this beautiful fruit. Not every watermelon can be called a Black Diamond, but they all contain vitamins and nutrients that make them worth their weight in gold. Here are some of the health treasures hidden in the watermelon.
Amino Acids are good for the liver. They help remove ammonia from your body for one thing. We know that can add up to Hepatic Encephalopathy for someone with an ailing liver. Watermelon also contains arginine and citrulline which are amino acids that are easy for your body to use. They are proven to help strengthen your overall cardiovascular system including arteries and blood flow. That is something those of us with portal hypertension need! These lab scientists in Florida ran a study where some people were given 3 glasses of watermelon juice a day and others had none. (You can guess which control group I would volunteer for) Sure enough, the amino acids blood levels were higher in the watermelon group. Citrulline and arginine are 2 of the things that watermelon is most rich in. If you have portal hypertension, take notes.
Potassium is one of the things I like best about watermelon. That is because Daddy always told us to go get a watermelon to slice if we had been sweating. He said that when you sweat, watermelon helps. He never said why. But I’ll bet you it was because of potassium! I think of watermelon as God’s Gatorade. When you sweat too much, your electrolytes can become imbalanced. Now you have a new cure! Potassium is also responsible for keeping your nerves and muscles functioning properly. That is really important to those of us who have treated for Hepatitis C. Some people have neuropathy or other nerve and muscle related problems related to liver damage as well. And.. what about those leg cramps? Yep. Potassium helps. Did you know that a good potassium level will also reduce your blood pressure and regulates heart beats? That’s 2 points for portal hypertension now!
We had a big galvanized stock tank at Granddaddy’s market. He would layer it with watermelons and then put some ice in. More watermelons were placed on top and finally another layer of ice till all the round or the long green striped beauties were tucked into their ice bed. Within a few hours they were so cold you could barely touch them. As customers or drivers were waiting for their trucks to be loaded, they would sit around the tub in metal lawn chairs right there on the dock. Granddaddy would get his knife out and split a watermelon giving everyone a nice triangular slice to bury their face in. We rarely got a soda pop, but we had all the watermelon we wanted. Pop might cause cancer is what he always said. Hmmmm. Wonder what he was thinking?
Antioxidants – Carotinoids such as lycopene are found in leafy green vegetables, but guess which fruit has even more? Yep. It’s a watermelon. I wonder if Granddaddy knew that powerful antioxidants were hidden in fruits and vegetables? I don’t think the word antioxidant was around then actually. There is no way he could have known that watermelon has the highest concentration of lycopene that is found in fresh produce. One cup has over 7,000 micrograms of carotinoids! But nobody in our family died of prostate or breast cancer. Oh yeah. And lycopene also helps with cardiovascular and heart disease. That’s 3 points for portal hypertension.
Vitamins always make their show in fresh produce and they are plentiful in watermelon! Vitamin A and C are important, but there is also a lot of B6 which is one of the things we need to convert protein to energy. So by eating watermelon, you are helping your liver, which has problems with that protein metabolism. And guess what? If you have some brain fog moments, just eat some more delicious fruit because B6 also helps brain function.
On summer days when I got up early enough to go work at the market, I would sweep with the big broom, or empty trash. I fetched dollies for my daddy and uncles to load boxes. If my brother was around, he might give me a ride. I would stand with my feet on the bottom of the dolly and lock my knees. He tilted it back and off we’d go! Mostly though, my job was to stay out of the way.
At the end of the day many watermelons had been split to share with family, customers, and friends. There was usually enough room in the stock tank for me and my cousins to climb in for an ice cold swim. If the ice had melted enough, the watermelons were floating. I would always try to ride one around like it was a big fish. Of course I rolled into the water screaming my lungs out every time. I just got a cold chill remembering how the freezing water took my breath away.
Watermelon brings back a lot of childhood memories for me. Times were simple then. I never dreamed that my life would be threatened by the Hepatitis C Virus or cirrhosis. My biggest worry from my days at the market was that the big cooler door would close and no one would find me before I froze to death. What I wouldn’t have given to sleep in one of those coolers with the Hepatitis C Treatment skin rash. But if you are eating it, watermelon benefits for Hepatitis C and Liver Cirrhosis can bring cooling and hydration for your skin.
I hope you will take your own trip down memory lane of watermelon and the lazy careless days of summer. It does not matter if it is a dark green Black Diamond or a striped Carolina Cross. You now know the benefits! With every juicy bite you will be getting help with brain fog, portal hypertension, vitamin supplements, potassium, and leg cramps. Watermelon is used in by some as part of a liver cleanse. This is sounding like a science fiction movie: The watermelon that saved the planet. (or at least helps save our lives)
I wish you were on the back porch with me now. I will picture you sitting on your porch with a big slice. Staying cool, Karen:)
pics via noveladventures,
Watermelon Benefits for Hepatitis C and Liver Cirrhosis
Blog posts by Karen Hoyt are written from a Best Friend’s view point. I always advise you to talk with your doctor about any changes you make regarding your health care.