Watermelon is a sweet, juicy, and refreshing summer snack. It is extremely low in calories and provides hydration and essential nutrients and so many other Health Benefits of Watermelon. Along with cucumber, cantaloupe, and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family too. There are five common varieties of watermelon: mini, seeded, seedless, yellow, and orange. Since watermelon is around 90% water, it makes this fruit a favorite summer snack to provide hydration to the body. With its natural sugars, it tastes delicious and refreshing. One cup of watermelon contains only 46 calories and is high in vitamin C, A, essential minerals, and antioxidants.
Benefits and Uses of Watermelon (Health Benefits of Watermelon)
1. Works as Viagra
Yes, it’s true. As per research, watermelon may be a natural Viagra. It is believed that this popular summer fruit is rich in an amino acid called citrulline. This amino acid relaxes and dilates blood vessels just like Viagra does to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). Cirtulline (a type of amino acid) found in the watermelon, improves blood flow in the penis naturally and that too without any side effects one might have from drugs like Viagra. High vitamin C and water content of watermelons are beneficial for people who struggle with impotency. Cirtulline in watermelon relaxes your blood vessels and produces arginine and creates Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide plays an important role in your sexual life as it increases your emotions and gives you a stronger erection. This Health Benefits of Watermelon is not known to many.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure
Researchers found that watermelon extract reduced blood pressure in and around the ankles of middle-aged people with obesity and early hypertension. The authors suggested that L-citrulline and L-arginine — two of the antioxidants in watermelon — may improve the function of the arteries. Lycopene — another antioxidant in watermelon — may help protect against heart disease. A 2017 review suggested that it might do this by reducing inflammation linked with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. Phytosterols are plant compounds that may help manage low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Some guidelines recommend consuming 2 grams (g) of phytosterols each day. 154 g of watermelon balls contain a small amount of phytosterols, at 3.08 mg. Reducing LDL cholesterol will help in preventing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
3. Might prevent certain cancers
Many researchers have studied lycopene, including other individual plant compounds in watermelon for their anti-cancer effects. Though lycopene intake is related to a lower risk of some sort of cancer, study results are mixed. The strongest connection so far seems to be between lycopene and cancers of the digestive system. It appears to reduce cancer risk by lowering insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein involved in cell division. Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons could also be helpful in reducing the danger of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene especially has been linked to reducing prostatic cancer cell proliferation. This is second Health Benefits of Watermelon which is not discussed or known.
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4. Improves Digestion
Watermelon may be a “healthy” fruit for many, except for those with any digestive issues, it can help in preventing the subsequent problems: diarrhea, bloating, gas, and indigestion. Watermelon is rich in water and contains a small amount of fiber as well — both of which are vital for healthy digestion. Fiber provides bulk for your stool, while water helps in keeping your digestive tract moving efficiently. Eating fiber-rich and water-rich vegetables and fruits, including watermelon, is very helpful for promoting normal bowel movements.
5. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Our favorite summer fruit contains a large amount of phytochemical called lycopene, which is present in tomatoes also. A massive analysis of the health claims around watermelon lycopene found it to be preventative against oxidative stress, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other serious health conditions. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the lycopene content in watermelon can be boosted by keeping the fruit at room temperature anywhere from a couple of days to a week—or until fully ripe. After you’ve cut it, it can be stored in the fridge for up to five more days. Plus, redder your watermelon is, the better it tastes, so it’s a win-win for flavor and health! Watermelon is also a good source of Vitamin C, which is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant and plays an important role in the immunity defense. Together, these two are a powerhouse in fighting off inflammation and oxidative stress.
6. Works wonders for Skin and Hair
Many people use vitamin A and Vitamin C-based topical creams for their skin but absorbing those nutrients through food is useful too. Vitamin C is essential for stimulating collagen and assists in wound or scar healing. Vitamin A also protects against damaging UV rays and counteracts against skin wrinkling and irregular pigmentation. Since watermelon may be a good source of both vitamins—and provides ample hydration—it is often thought of as an excellent fruit for healthy skin and hair. And if you want to take things a little further, then apply a watermelon-based overnight face mask and see excellent results! This Health Benefits of Watermelon is the reason it is so popular in many countries, especially watermelon juice.
7. Keeps you Hydrated
Drinking water is crucial to keep your body hydrated. Eating foods that have high-water content also helps. High-water content in fruits and vegetables is one of the reasons why they help in keeping you feeling full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without tons of calories. Watermelon has a high water content. This makes it hydrating and helps you feel full. Watermelon is around 90% water and provides electrolytes, like potassium. This makes it a healthy choice of snack during the summer months. People can consume watermelon as juice, like fresh fruit or frozen in slices for a tasty cold Popsicle-style snack. This Health Benefits of Watermelon is common and the rise in sale of watermelon goes up in summers.
8. Keeps your Eyes Healthy
The high vitamin A and carotenoid content of yellow watermelon make it great for eye health, decreasing the risk of various eye diseases. Consuming watermelon regularly also keeps you supplied with vitamin C which is an important nutrient for slowing down the occurrence of cataracts. The National Watermelon Promotion Board reports that watermelon has 15 to 20 mg of lycopene per two cups. That’s more than most other fruits. Watermelon is a great source of vitamin A, which helps produce pigments in the retina of the eye, which protects age-related macular degeneration. So, if you want to protect your eyes against age-related blindness, eat more watermelon.
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9. Reduces Muscle Soreness and Improves Athletic Performance
The key nutrient that watermelon contains that protects your muscles from strain and soreness, is the dietary amino acid, L-Citruline. Which has given the fruit quite a reputation amongst athletes, as it will not only help minimise your post-workout pain but improve athletic performance overall. So, if you don’t have a juicer yet, now is the time to get one. This Health Benefits of Watermelon is the reason many sports person have watermelon juice in morning breakfast.
10. Watermelon is loaded with Lycopene
The watermelon is red in color because of this component called Lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant. Studies have been made on this component and it shows Lycopene results in curb risk of Cancer and diabetes. Watermelon have more nutrient than any other vegetable including tomatoes. Bright red watermelon have load of lycopene instead of yellow or orange. Watermelon with less seeds have more lycopene than those with seeds.
11. Protect your joints from inflammation
Watermelons have beta-cryptoxanthin which is a natural pigment. beta-cryptoxanthin protect your joints from inflammation. Some studies have done and it shows some results that regular use of watermelon could make you less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis.
12. Healthy Heart and low risk of Heart attack.
Several Studies have shown watermelons may lower risk of heart attacks. Watermelons are rick in an amino acid named as citrulline. Citrulline helps to move blood through your body and lower blood pressure. But it does not mean we should not work out, smoke, drink etc. We should always keep our doctor’s advice.
13. Health Benefits of Watermelon includes Asthma prevention
As we already know watermelon is rich source of Vitamin C. And it believed that vitamin C help in preventing asthma. Our lungs have certain antioxidants including vitamin c, which may reduce the risk of having asthma. So if you have breathing problem consider adding watermelons to your diet.
14. Watermelon is beneficial For Pregnant Women
Heartburn is a common problem during pregnancy. Morning sickness and muscle cramps these are other 2 problems that pregnant women face everyday. Watermelon eases heartburn, alleviate morning sickness and help prevent muscle cramps.
How Can You Get the Best Results?
- A study done showed that cyclists who drank watermelon juice, one hour before their workout had reduced their muscle pain the next day, in comparison to those who didn’t. So, make sure to have your juice before you start exercising.
- The rind of the watermelon has more L-Citruline than the pulp. And if you stick to organic produce, you’ll be to include it in your juice too.
- Juice one-third of watermelon for each juice you make. This contains approximately 1g of L-Citruline, which is just enough to reach optimal physical performance during and after a workout.
- Reduces the risk of Asthma Attacks
The powerful antioxidants present in watermelon reduce the content of toxic matters in the body which in turn reduces asthma attacks. Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C which is responsible for reducing the effects of asthma and this could mean that you could be fighting some of the severe effects of asthma with just one cup of watermelon daily. Moreover, asthmatics with low levels of vitamin C tend to experience more asthmatic symptoms and thus watermelon is a great recommendation if you are battling with one such disease. In simple terms, watermelon has about 40% of vitamin C that is good for asthmatics.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon
Watermelons are about 92 percent water and in addition, this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels lycopene, antioxidants, vitamins A, B6 and C, and amino acids. Watermelon contains even a modest amount of potassium.
Serving size: 2 cups diced (280 g / 10 oz)
Amount per serving* are based on a 2,000-calorie diet (Percent Daily Values (%DV)).
Total Carbohydrate: 21g (7%), Dietary Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugars: 20g, Total Fat: 0g (0%), Potassium: 270mg (8%), Protein: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg (0%), Sodium: 0mg (0%), Calcium: (2%), Iron: (4%), Vitamin A: (30%) and Vitamin C: (25%)
Risks or Precautions when consuming Watermelons
If consumed in reasonable amounts, watermelons produce no serious side effects. If you eat an abundance of fruit every day, you may experience problems from having too much potassium or lycopene. According to the American Cancer Society, the consumption of more than 30 mg of lycopene in a day potentially causes nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, and bloating. People with too much potassium in their blood, or serious hyperkalemia, should probably not consume more than one cup of watermelon in a day, which has less than 140 mg of potassium. As mentioned by the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia results in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems, in addition to reduced muscle control. Loading up on high water content foods like watermelon can be tempting for those looking to lose weight as they help you feel full. People who eat higher quantities of fruits and vegetables typically have healthier body weights. However, eating the only watermelon is not recommended as you will lose weight, but that weight will be mostly muscle.
How to consume a Watermelon
Servings: 6, Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: 6 cups of chilled cubed seedless watermelon, 4 cups of cold water, 3/4 cup fresh strained chilled lemon juice, and 2/3 cup granulated sugar to taste. Add ice and fresh mint for serving.
Add watermelon to a blender and blend it until well pureed. Pour this through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. In a large pitcher whisk together lemon juice, water, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in the pureed watermelon. Stir the ice and mint and store it in the refrigerator. I case you do not have time to chill the ingredients then, use more ice in place of some water.
2. Watermelon Feta salad
Servings: 8, Prep Time: 15 minutes
Description: The refreshing salad with watermelon, fresh mint, and feta cheese is simply dressed with lime juice and olive oil. It is perfect for summer.
Ingredients: A seedless and chilled watermelon (about 12 cups of cubed fruit), 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 whole juiced limes, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp black pepper, 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves and 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (sheep’s milk feta preferred)
Instructions: This salad is made best just prior to serving. Prepare it one hour or less before your meal. Chop the fruit into 1-inch chunks. Place these watermelon chunks in a colander to drain as you chop. In a bowl, whisk together fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, and black pepper for dressing. Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour this dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss it gently. Pour the crumbled feta in a bowl and stir it to integrate the cheese in the salad.
3. Watermelon Salsa
Prep Time: 10 minutes. Servings: 6-8
Description: Fresh watermelon salsa recipe is quick and easy to make and tastes very refreshing!
Ingredients: 4 cups of diced deedless watermelon, 1 cup diced red onion, 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, 1–2 jalapeno(s), zest and juice of 1 lime
Instructions: Toss all the mentioned ingredients together until combined. Serve this salsa immediately or cover it and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
4. Watermelon Juice
Refreshing and naturally sweet watermelon juice couldn’t be easier to make in a blender. The serving will vary based on the size of the watermelon; 6.5-pound watermelon yields about 5 cups of juice.
Ingredients: 1 small sweet watermelon, 1 small lime
Instructions: Slice the watermelon in half. Using a big spoon, scoop chunks of the watermelon into a blender. Blend the watermelon until it is totally crushed. This usually takes about a minute. For extra flavor, squeeze one small lime into the blender and blend for a few more seconds. If the watermelon is pulpy or seeded, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a jar. If not, pour it directly into glasses with ice. Watermelon juice can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days. The juice might separate over time; stir it with a spoon to recombine.
5. Roasted Watermelon seeds
Ingredients: 1 cup raw watermelon seeds, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon salt
Instructions: Place the seeds from a watermelon in a colander. Use only the black seeds; do not use the white, small seeds. Rinse them thoroughly in a colander to remove any excess watermelon. Once clean, spread these out in a layer on a cookie sheet and let it dry. Drying in direct sunlight is a good method. Roast the seeds when they are completely dry. In a frying pan, place watermelon seeds over medium-high heat and turn them until the seeds are roasted. Add salt to a cup of water and stir till it dissolves. Pour this salt water into the frying pan and let it cook, stir it occasionally until water evaporates. Allow seeds to cool completely before consuming.
Watermelon also has a high glycemic index, making it easily digestible. Unfortunately, this can cause glucose levels to quickly shoot up. Yet, limited consumption in a diabetic diet earns a thumbs up from the American Diabetes Association.19
It’s vital to keep in mind that lycopene in excess can also lead to gastrointestinal trouble. Consuming too much can cause bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. How much is too much? Well, there is no authoritative study or source that firmly states a safe daily dose of lycopene. However, it is widely accepted that 30 mg per day of lycopene is a safe quantity. A cup and a half of watermelon has about 9 to 13 mg of lycopene. Consequently, two to three cups of watermelon per day is a safe bet.20At the end of the day, you must remember – moderation is everything.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s data on watermelon nutrition, one cup (about 152 grams) contains approximately:
- 46 calories
- 11.5 grams carbs
- 1 gram protein
- 0.2 grams fat
- 0.6 grams dietary fiber
- 12.3 milligrams vitamin C (21 percent DV)
- 865 international units vitamin A (17 percent DV)
- 170 milligrams potassium (5 percent DV)
- 15.2 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams thiamine (3 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (3 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligrams pantothenic acid (3 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams copper (3 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams manganese (3 percent DV)
Eat With Care
The benefits of eating watermelons cannot be denied. However, as with all good things, you can’t afford to overdo it. People with kidney disease and diabetics should exercise extra caution. As a diuretic, watermelon can interfere with water retention in those with kidney diseases.17
Additionally, when the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, potassium from food tends to accumulate. This can lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia. And since high potassium levels can be detrimental, this is definitely something to watch out for. Undesirable symptoms include irregular heart beats, reduced muscle control, and a complete collapse of the heart.
Where to Find/How to Use
When and where can you buy fresh watermelon?
Today, most states in the United States grow watermelon commercially, with Georgia, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona the largest producers.
Watermelons are tropical or subtropical plants and need temperatures higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit to grow. Watermelon season is during the warmest months of the year, with most commonly available types sold in the northern regions of the U.S. in the summer — hence why they have become a summer barbecue staple.
In other parts of the world like Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia, this fruit is popular for its ability to grow in hot temperatures and provide hydration in dry climates.
Certain watermelon plants have been genetically modified to produce melon with no seeds or small white seeds. A lot of research has actually been put into breeding disease-resistant varieties of melon and developing seedless strains that keep all of the nutrients intact.
It’s believed that seedless types offer similar health benefits to the kind with seeds.
It’s always best to purchase organic varieties of commonly modified crops whenever possible. Because melon seeds are often treated with synthetic growth simulators in the production of non-organic watermelon, in order to reduce your risk of contamination with all chemical synthetic additives, look for naturally grown, organic melon.
How to pick a watermelon:
A ripe melon has a smooth, hard rind that is usually green with dark green or yellow spots or stripes. The inside, the edible flesh, is usually bright pink with big black seeds but can also come in other hues.
For example, you may be able to find deep red, orange, white or yellow melons in some markets.
How can you tell if a watermelon is ripe?
How do you know if this fruit is ripe? A fresh watermelon is ready to cut open and eat when it has a yellow or cream color on the bottom of the melon, as opposed to bright white.
Also, try knocking on the melon and picking it up to find one that is heavy and dense for its size. This typically means that all of its juices have been produced and it’s ready to crack open.
Here’s how to cut a fresh watermelon:
- Lay the melon on a cutting board and cut off both ends first.
- Then stand up the melon so you can slice in half.
- Slice down the middle to create two big halves, then cut in half again to create quarters.
- Slice each quarter intro triangular pieces.
- Once cut up, some people like to lightly salt the fruit to enhance the flavor, but this is optional.
- If not eating within one to two hours, store in the refrigerator for up to several days.
Can you eat watermelon seeds?
Unbeknownst to most people, there are many benefits of watermelon seeds and watermelon juice.
The seeds are considered a good source of proteins, oils and carbohydrates. They also provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, and more.
You already know that this melon has a high water content (hence the name), and studies show that drinking this juice is a good way to obtain hydrating fluids along with antioxidants, essential electrolyte minerals and vitamins.
Although watermelon seeds are perfectly safe to eat, they should actually be sprouted and shelled to maximize the potential health benefits. This process can bump up the protein content of the super seed and make it easier for your body to access and absorb the incredible nutrients held inside.
Watermelon seeds are rich in beneficial nutrients. As mentioned, watermelons contain phytonutrients that have very good effects on the health and proper functioning of internal organs, eyes, and the secretion system.
Even in daily living, many find the benefits vast and surprising.
One of our Organic Facts readers, Berrada Ali, wrote “I was traveling from Agadir to Marrakech in Morocco yesterday (August 8, 2008), and en cours de route, I bought a watermelon. During a hot day, I don’t feel good. I measured my blood pressure with a handy apparatus -a tension meter- the result was: 7.8/15.2 for diastolic and systolic pressure. Then, I ate half a kilogram of watermelon, of a variety well known in the region of Southern Morocco – avariety. Immediately, I measured my blood pressure and the result was: 8.2/12.3 for diastolic and systolic pressures! The drop in my blood pressure could not be the effect of any agent other than the watermelon!”
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Read This Great article on National Geographic : Five Reasons to Eat Watermelon