printable article

Originally published July 31 2006

Watermelons produce more nutrients after being picked, but not if refrigerated

by NaturalNews

(NaturalNews) Refrigeration may make food last longer, but it can reduce the nutritional benefits of some foods, according to a USDA study.

Penelope Perkins-Vazie and Julie Collins of the association's South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Lane, Okla. tested several popular varieties of watermelon for levels of carotenoids -- a nutrient that can repair damage from the sun, chemicals, and everyday living -- and the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.

The watermelons were stored for 14 days at 41, 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The researchers found the fruit actually produced more nutrients after picking, even though the watermelons were selected by commercial growers as "fully ripe when harvested."

However, the study also showed that chilling slowed this process. Watermelons stored at room temperature (70 degrees) contained up to 40 percent more lycopene and 50 to 139 percent more beta-carotene, which the body transforms into vitamin A.

While most people turn to refrigeration to increase the life of perishables, the researchers wrote that watermelons were the exception. "The usual shelf life for watermelons is 14 to 21 days at 55 F after harvest," they wrote. "At refrigerated temperatures, like 41 degrees, watermelon starts to decay and develop lesions after a week."


All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit