The warmer weather has officially descended upon us, bringing with it excitement for the summer months ahead. Just take a moment and consider the beautiful sunshine, bonfires in the backyard, days at the beach and time spent floating in the pool.

We’ll indulge in our favorite summer treats including ice cream and, the all too popular summer fruit, watermelon!

At only 46 calories per cup, watermelon is a perfect guilt-free snack. Refreshing and hydrating, this fruit is associated with a large number of health benefits. Experts say that it helps to hydrate the body (after all, it is largely water), and it has been found to help improve heart health, lower inflammation, prevent macular degeneration, relieve muscle soreness, improve digestion and even help to prevent cancer! Packed with vitamins A and C, it’s the perfect addition to any diet.

In our fast-paced society food producers are constantly searching for ways to improve their production efforts, delivering more volume at a faster rate. In an attempt to accomplish just this feat, farmers have used a variety of different growth chemicals. One such chemical, forchlorfenuron, has gained popularity for use in watermelons across eastern China. Unfortunately, when given an overdose of the chemical it actually causes the fruit to literally burst open in the fields.

Here in the United States, the chemical has been approved for use in grapes and kiwi. However, the regulation of this chemical isn’t as solid as we would like to believe. Used throughout the world, countries that have previously stated that they are regulating its use and banning exports of ‘treated’ fruits have been found to be incredibly lax on enforcing these rules.

Unfortunately, this chemical can also carry some significant health risks! Studies conducted on livestock revealed a number of side effects including smaller litter sizes, animals born without hair or losing their hair, or significant decreases in weight.

In order to keep our families safe, it is our responsibility to learn how to identify foods that have been treated with this chemical. When you cut open your next watermelon, pay attention to what you find inside. Treated watermelon will be pale as opposed to bright red, and the seeds are all white rather than black. Furthermore, the rapid growth often results in misshapen fruit. The one sign that is most often overlooked is the presence of cracks inside of the watermelon, caused by the same growth patterns that cause the watermelon in Chinese fields to explode.

Interested in learning more? Watch this video:

Image via One Stop Video Shop

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