Watermelon is related to cucumber, pumpkin and squash and is by weight the most consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew. It has anti-inflammatory properties and a high level of lycopene, which prevents cells from being damaged and may lower the risk of heart disease.
Watermelon is high in fiber and has amino acids that improve circulation and prevent muscle soreness. It is high in Vitamins A and C, which keep hair and skin moisturized and promote healthy collagen growth, respectively. Watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma, and over 200 varieties of watermelon are grown in the United States and Mexico. The United States ranks 5th in the world for watermelon production in 44 states. All parts of the watermelon are edible.
Watermelon harvests were first recorded 5,000 years ago in Egypt, and it likely originated in the Kalahari desert in Africa. Watermelon can keep the body well hydrated because it is 92 percent water. Early explorers used them as canteens, and Egyptians placed them in the tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife. Watermelons were likely brought to the United States by African slaves. The first cookbook written in the United States, in 1776, contained a recipe for pickled watermelon rinds.