26. You refrigerate watermelon as soon as you buy it
THE RESULT: Less lycopene.
THE FIX: Temperature affects the development and availability of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives watermelon, tomatoes, guavas, and red-ﬂeshed grapefruits their rich red color. The USDA Agricultural Research Service found that after two weeks, melons stored at room temperature developed a richer rouge and gained as much as 40% more lycopene (14mg per 11⁄2 cups), depending on the variety, than melons stored in the refrigerator—that’s nearly half of an acceptable daily intake of 30mg. To get the maximum beneﬁt, let whole watermelons sit on the counter for up to ﬁve days to fully ripen and develop lycopene, and then place them in the fridge to chill. If the melon has been cut, it should be refrigerated immediately.