Official Newsletter of the President's Challenge


The Reds of Summer: Tomatoes and Watermelon Offer Protection from Sunburn and other Skin Damage

watermelon_tomato_salad Nothing says “summer” to our taste buds quite like a refreshing slice of red juicy watermelon—or a homegrown tomato right off the vine. This recipe combines both together for a unique flavor experience and a big dose of lycopene, which can help protect your skin from sunburn and other damaging effects of the sun.

Lycopene is a carotenoid, a natural pigment made by plants that protects plants from stress and helps them use the sun's energy to make nutrients. It is also what gives certain fruits their red coloring. While research on the cancer-preventive properties of lycopene are still mixed, research does show that high levels of lycopene helps reduce damage from sun exposure like sunburns and skin aging and helps to improve bone mass as well.

When the fresh fruits of summer are a memory this winter, continue getting your lycopene through cooked tomato paste and sauces, which provide an even greater amount of lycopene per serving.

Other sources of lycopene are pink grapefruit, apricots, guava, and papaya.

Eating carotenoids like lycopene along with dietary fat may help the body absorb them, so be sure to keep the olive oil in the recipe.

The Reds (and Greens) of Summer

  • 2 cups watermelon cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup tomatoes cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup cucumber cut into small chunks
  • 1 large avocado cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, mint, cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In another small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.