Watermelon is a large fruit of a more or less spherical shape. It has an oval or spherical shape and a dark green and smooth rind, sometimes showing irregular areas of a pale green colour.
It has a sweet, juicy, refreshing flesh of yellowish or reddish colour, containing multiple black, brown or white pips.
Slicing into a chilled watermelon on a hot summer afternoon is nothing short of a celebration. Like their cucumber cousins, the entire watermelon can be eaten.
Although, people tend to only eat the inner pink or yellow flesh. Here’s why you should consider watermelon more than just a refreshing summer treat.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Watermelon
1. They prevent prostate cancer
Watermelons are high in lycopene, which gives them the same red pigment as tomatoes. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant studied extensively for its ability to protect men against prostate cancer. Try pairing your watermelon with some iced green tea — the antioxidants found in both may help prevent cancer in the way they work together in the body.
2. May Lower Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases. Watermelon may help lower inflammation and oxidative damage as it’s rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidants lycopene and vitamin C. As an antioxidant, lycopene may also benefit brain health. For example, it may help delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Watermelons are high in vitamin B1
This vitamin ensures a healthy nervous system, and the lack of it is known as a thiamine deficiency. And it can result in confusion and memory loss. Alcohol can also lead to thiamin depletion, which makes watermelon a great breakfast food after a night of indulgence.
4. They increase the production of arginine
Watermelons contain a unique amino acid called citrulline, which our bodies use to manufacture another amino acid called arginine. Arginine plays a direct role in the volume and direction of blood flow in the body. It’s currently being researched in treating erectile dysfunction, with promising results.
5. Can Improve Digestion
Watermelon contains lots of water and a small amount of fiber — both of which are important for healthy digestion. Fiber can provide bulk for your stool, while water helps keep your digestive tract moving efficiently. Eating water-rich and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, can be very helpful for promoting normal bowel movements.
6. Watermelons are good for your heart
Watermelons are high in vitamin C, which is well-researched in its ability to prevent the hardening of the arteries, increase the elasticity of the blood vessels and decrease inflammation. All of these factors can help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.
7. Watermelons are the perfect post-workout snack
Not only are watermelons 92-percent water, they’re also full of magnesium and potassium. We often lose these two minerals, along with sodium, in our sweat during exercise, and they need to be replenished immediately. Potassium and magnesium are known as electrolytes because they help carry the electrical signals in the body and allow our muscles to contract and relax.
8. Helps You Hydrate
Drinking water is an important way to keep your body hydrated. However, eating foods that have a high water content can also help. Interestingly, watermelon is 92% water.
What’s more, a high water content is one of the reasons why fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.
9. Is Good for Skin and Hair
Two vitamins in watermelon — A and C — are important for skin and hair health. Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin supple and your hair strong.
Vitamin A is also important for healthy skin since it helps create and repair skin cells. Without enough vitamin A, your skin can look dry and flaky. Both lycopene and beta-carotene may also help protect your skin from sunburn.
10. May Help Relieve Muscle Soreness
Citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, may reduce muscle soreness. It’s also available as a supplement. Interestingly, watermelon juice appears to enhance the absorption of citrulline.
One small study gave athletes plain watermelon juice, watermelon juice mixed with citrulline or a citrulline drink. Both watermelon drinks led to less muscle soreness and quicker heart rate recovery, compared to citrulline on its own.
The researchers also conducted a test-tube experiment, investigating the absorption of citrulline. Their findings suggest that citrulline absorption is most effective when it’s consumed as a component of watermelon juice. Other research has also looked at citrulline’s potential to improve exercise endurance and performance.
So far, citrulline hasn’t seemed to improve exercise performance in the amounts studied, but it’s still an area of research interest.
Watermelon is a surprisingly healthy fruit. It has a high water content and also delivers many other important nutrients, including lycopene and vitamin C.
These nutrients mean that watermelon isn’t only a tasty low-calorie treat — it’s also very good for your health.