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Comment: A friend of mine has been trying to convince me that watermelon
can give you cancer. She couldn't tell me a particular kind of cancer, or
what in watermelon could have this affect, but she remains adamant that it
is true. Is it possible that a fruit people and animals have been eating
since time immemorial has the potential for such a fatal disease?

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing

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Nah. Its the saliva swallowed in small quantities that gives you cancer.

I swear, it was funnier in my head.
Yeah, I used to be pink. vanilla_pink.

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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps

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Nope, seems there's a bit of confusion here. Watermelon is one of the cancer fighters.

Link #1
Watermelon can fight disease with the best of them. Compare average serving sizes, and watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable (15 mg per 2-cup serving). Lycopene, already a known warrior against prostate, esophageal, and breast cancers, has also been linked to a reduced risk of cervical cancer.
Link #2
Foods rich in lycopenes, an antioxidant, also may help lower your prostate cancer risk. These foods include raw or cooked tomatoes, tomato products, grapefruit and watermelon.
Perhaps the old scare with a certain red dye has led some people to think any red colour causes cancer. Who knows. At the very least (aside from the lycopene news), water melon has fiber, which is good for keeping the colon happy and is advised for helping prevent colon cancers.

ranran "spat out onto the ground" yousei

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I'm Dreaming of a White Sale

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I seem to recall someone once telling me that a sufficiently large quantity of ANY food could have carcinogenic repercussions.

These men have a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them.

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Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days

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Maybe it's the watermelon seeds? That's why you should always spit them, preferably as far as possible.
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ranran yousei
The Red and the Green Stamps

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I don't think it's the seeds, or even the rinds for that matter. Watermelon seeds are eaten regularly in some cultures, and I found lots of recipes for them. I didn't find any listed toxins for the seeds (unlike apple seeds, which is so minute, it's not a real concern). I did come across some claims about their fiber content and heallth benefits (especially for kidneys), but since the sites are unfamiliar to me, I'm not going to link to them or consider them truthful until I can find out more from reliable sources.

I also found recipes for pickling the rinds. [Big Grin]

Amazing what we toss aside sometimes...

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day

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I was thinking they were talking about the seeds myself.

Like apple seeds

Joseph Z

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The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas

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My grandmother ate watermelon many times and also died of cancer, so it has to be true.


"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
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Laser Potato
I Saw Three Shipments

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OK, before we all go into a panic and boycott melons, do we actually have any *actual proof* watermelon seeds contain carcinogens?

I want a lawyer! I want a doctor! I want a cheese sandwich!

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High

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Nutrition analysis for Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried

You can find roasted watermeleon seeds for sale all over the place. Most are from either China or the Middle East. The Vietnamese roast the seeds & dye them red as a snack for Tet.

Edgar Cayce promoted Watermelon Seed Tea Sopposedlyit "helps the kidneys; relieves hypertension, cystitis, insomnia."

In 1985, there was an outbreak of illness associated with eating watermelons grown in California. Turned out that growers had illegally treated the melons with aldicarb, a very toxic pesticide. The pesticde is not known to be a carcinogen, however. Perhaps the commenter's friend has some garbled memory of this episode

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Cure the Blues
We Three Blings

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Watermelon seeds can be contaminated with fungal aflatoxins from Aspergillus species (as described in this abstract). These are well-known to cause acute liver toxicity, and lower-dose, chronic exposures are associated with liver cancer. They typically contaminate peanuts, tree nuts, corn, and cottonseed, but can also infest other foods. The FDA limits the amount of aflatoxins in food, so I wouldn't necessarily worry about dried watermelon seeds used for snacking, unless they were imported from an area that does not test for aflatoxins. Inadvertently swallowed seeds from fresh watermelons are non-toxic, as it's the drying and storage that provides safe haven for Aspergillus growth.

"Of all the Daliesque tourist traps in the world, we had to walk into this one."

Posts: 1186 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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