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By: Stephanie Duhon

The sweet, juicy taste of a watermelon … it’s one of my favorite things about the summer. It’s also one of the best ways to beat Houston’s sweltering heat! I craved watermelon like crazy when I was pregnant, which turned out to be a good thing! Not only does watermelon taste divine and keep you hydrated, it’s full of good stuff for you!

Girl eating watermelon

Watermelon is low in calories, rich in antioxidants, and a good source of lycopene, and Vitamins C, A, B6 and B1. Up to 92 percent of a watermelon is water. This super fruit is especially good for you during pregnancy!

Benefits of watermelon:

*Eases heartburn and reduces swelling

*Minerals found in watermelon can help prevent muscle cramps

*Ounce for ounce, watermelon is richer in lycopene than a tomato … lycopene is an antioxidant that protects against cancer and heart disease

*A 2003 study in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that daily lycopene supplements decreased incidence of pre-eclampsia by 50%

*Nutrients found in watermelon, such as potassium and magnesium, are important for baby’s development

*Potassium regulates water balance in the blood and body tissue during pregnancy

*Some expectant mothers have said watermelon is all they can eat when faced with morning sickness

You can eat watermelon as is, make a smoothie or combine it with other foods. But first, you have to find the right watermelon to take home from the store.

Finding the perfect watermelon:

*Is it symmetrical, free of cuts and marks with bright, fair skin?

*Is it heavy? Heaviness indicates amount of water. You want it to have some weight to it.

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*Is it a good size for you or you and your family?

*Does it sound hollow when you thump it?

Once you find a good watermelon, leave it out a room temperature if it still needs to ripen. Once ripe, keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh longer.

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