A crisp, juicy, cool slice of watermelon best captures the essence of summer. It’s a mainstay of backyard barbecues, and your neighbourhood farmers’ markets are packed with it right now. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon can be classified as either a fruit or a vegetable. It is also highly nutritious.
According to nutritionists, watermelon is an excellent complement to a balanced diet because it is low in calories and sugar and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And it’s entertaining to eat! According to Kris Sollid, MS, RD, senior director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council, “eating watermelon makes me feel carefree, like a kid again at a summer picnic enjoying the outdoors with the people I care about most.”
Here is a list of some of the top watermelon health advantages, according nutritionists.
Watermelon Nutrition Facts
The following is what one cup (152 g) of watermelon contains, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Calories: 45.6
- Fat: 0.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 1.52mg
- Carbohydrate: 11.5g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Vitamin C: 12.3mg
- Potassium: 170mg
- Calcium: 10mg
- Vitamin A: 865 IU
- Lycopene: 6,890 micrograms
Is daily consumption of watermelon acceptable?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 10% of Americans consume the recommended two cups of fruit each day (CDC). You may consume many servings of watermelon every day without worrying about the long-term effects of your diet because it is low in calories and sugar. However, Sollid advises that it is ideal for your nutritional health to attempt to vary the types of fruit you eat. Eating a variety of fruits will guarantee that your body receives all the nutrients it need. Different fruits have different nutrients.
According to Grace Derocha, RDN, CDCES, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, anything can be consumed in excess, even watermelon. Although it can be tempting to consume half or more of an entire watermelon in one sitting on a hot summer afternoon, experts like Derocha advise against doing so. Instead, they suggest eating one cup at a time.
According to Derocha, watermelon is a high-FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) fruit, which means it contains short-chain sugars that some people find difficult to digest. As a result, Derocha warns that excessive consumption of this fruit “may cause bloating or discomfort.”
She goes on to say that those who have diabetes or who may need to track their carbohydrate consumption should be very careful about how much watermelon they consume. Consuming excessive amounts of fruit may result in blood sugar changes, which can be dangerous for those with diabetes.
What advantages does watermelon have for your health?
According to Christina Meyer-Jax, RDN, LDN, Standard Process nutrition chair and assistant professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University, “Watermelon is a naturally low-calorie package.” It provides important antioxidant elements that help general wellness and the prevention of disease.
Here are 11 health benefits of watermelon:
1) It comes with a frontload of nutrients.
Watermelon provides a nutritional punch for only 46 calories per cup. It also has a plethora of other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin B6, in addition to 15% of your daily needs for vitamin C, according to Sollid.
According to Derocha, vitamin C boosts immunity and aids in iron absorption, whereas vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin and eyes. Along with vitamin B6, which helps the body break down the proteins you eat and also strengthens the immune system and neurological function, watermelon is also a good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and promotes nerve function.
2) It provides a lot of lycopene.
Watermelon and other fruits and vegetables contain the naturally occurring antioxidant lycopene. In addition to giving watermelon its red colour, the compound also contributes to its health benefits. It has been demonstrated to lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and aging-related eye diseases, according to Meyer-Jax. According to Sollid, lycopene acts to shield your cells from harm, and studies indicate that regular dietary consumption of it may have blood pressure-lowering effects.
3) A watermelon can help you stay hydrated.
More than 90% of a watermelon’s weight is water. As the name suggests, watermelon can help you stay hydrated, says Derocha. Watermelon can surely help with this balanced intake, as we get 80% of our hydration from what we drink and 20% from what we eat.
Most individuals don’t drink enough water, which is a problem because staying hydrated is crucial during the summer when the temperature rises and you could sweat out fluids.
Meyer-Jax advises consuming watermelon that has been lightly salted after working out or when you’ve been perspiring for a while. Restoring lost electrolytes and carbohydrate storage is made possible by the combination of salt and carbohydrates, according to the expert.
4) It promotes wholesome digestion
Watermelons have a lot of water and only a little fibre. Both are crucial to maintaining a healthy digestive system, according to Meyer-Jax. While water aids in the movement of waste through your digestive tract, fibre gives your stool volume and maintains regularity.
5) It might aid in weight control
According to Meyer-Jax, eating watermelon rather of another sweet treat can make you feel fuller for longer. A small study published in the 2019 issue of the journal Nutrients indicated, for instance, that respondents who were clinically obese or classified overweight felt fuller after eating watermelon as opposed to low-fat cookies. Daily consumption of watermelon was linked to lower body weight, BMI, blood pressure, and waist circumference in the participants.
6) It could strengthen cardiac health
According to research, eating lycopene-rich foods may lower your chance of developing heart disease and stroke. The fruit was linked to heart disease in a 2012 study that was published in the American Journal of Hypertension because of evidence that watermelon extract may lower blood pressure over the long run. According to Derocha, “The authors hypothesised that L-citrulline and L-arginine, two of the antioxidants in watermelon, may enhance the function of the arteries.”
7) It might help lower the risk of cancer.
Watermelon’s lycopene may lessen oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the body’s capacity to combat free radicals (unstable chemicals produced naturally by the body that can cause illness) and inflammation. Research indicates that lycopene has the potential to reduce inflammation and prevent cancer cells from developing, which lowers your chance for the diseases. Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase your risk for various diseases, including cancer. According to studies, increasing your lycopene intake can lower your risk for prostate and digestive tract cancer.
8) Watermelon might lessen swelling
According to Derocha, a particular antioxidant combination found in watermelon—lycopene and vitamin C—can gradually reduce oxidative damage and inflammation. For those who are experiencing it, inflammation might result in swelling, pain, or flushed skin. Additionally, persistent inflammation has been linked to major illnesses such type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, and heart disease.
9) It benefits your skin.
Water and the vitamins A, B6, and C in watermelon help keep your skin elastic, smooth, and soft, according to Derocha. Vitamin C increases collagen synthesis, which enhances skin suppleness and blood flow. And vitamin B6 helps with skin outbreaks, while vitamin A prevents dry, flaky skin by repairing skin cells.
According to Derocha, lycopene can help protect your skin from the sun, reducing the likelihood that you’ll develop a sunburn. She notes that this does not, however, imply that you should forego applying sunscreen; rather, you must do it frequently.
10) It might help with sore muscles.
According to a short research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, athletes who drank watermelon juice experienced less discomfort in their muscles for up to 24 hours after their workout. The juice also reduced their heart rate during recuperation. L-citrulline, an amino acid that helps to prevent muscular injury, has been linked by researchers to watermelon juice’s capacity to soothe sore muscles. Although researchers need more hard data to determine the scope of this advantage, You might be encouraged by this link to think about using watermelon juice in your post-workout regimen.
11) Both the seeds and rind of watermelon are healthy.
The majority of people only consume the red or pink flesh of fresh watermelon. However, you can also eat the rind and seeds because they have complementary health advantages of their own.
According to Meyer-Jax, watermelon rinds are lower in sugar and higher in fibre than the fruit’s meat, which “helps slow down sugar absorption in the gut and mellows the rise in blood sugar” when consumed with the rest of the melon. L-citrulline, which can improve athletic performance and lower blood pressure, is also found in watermelon rinds.