Watermelon is the go-to fruit when you’re looking to combat the scorching heat of the summer. The sweet taste and juiciness of the bright red flesh quenches thirst better than any other fruit.
Beyond the taste and high water content, watermelon offers several other benefits that have been gaining the attention of researchers. In this article, you’ll learn about the nutritional content of watermelon and its possible health benefits.
Watermelon contains various nutrients, which contribute to its numerous health benefits. The nutritional information for 152 g of watermelon, according to the USDA, can be seen below:
Adding to the nutrients listed above, watermelon is loaded with citrulline, an amino acid that enhances exercise performance. It also contains various antioxidants, including carotenoids, lycopene, and cucurbitacin E. These compounds combat the activities of free radicals.
Some of the perks of integrating watermelon into your diet include:
The World Health Organization reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. Lifestyle decisions like diet and exercise may help lower your risk of various heart conditions by reducing your blood pressure and the levels of “bad” cholesterol.
One study found that lycopene, which is in watermelon, may contribute to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It may also prevent oxidative damage associated with high cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, watermelon’s citrulline amino acid may help increase the levels of nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels expand, reducing your blood pressure. Some other heart-beneficial vitamins and minerals in watermelon include magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6.
Inflammation is a major contributor to many chronic diseases. Consuming watermelon may help you steer clear of diseases by lowering inflammation. The tasty fruit contains a combination of antioxidants, including lycopene and vitamin C, which reduce inflammation and oxidative damage associated with it.
One study on rats found that those that were fed watermelon powder to supplement an unhealthy diet had lower levels of inflammation and developed less oxidative stress than other rates in a controlled group.
Additionally, another study found that vitamin C reduces inflammation in people with obesity and high inflammatory markers. A serving of watermelon contains 14% of your vitamin C daily value. Some experts also believe that lycopene may delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is required to back up these claims.
Citrulline, an amino acid that is abundant in watermelon, may enhance your exercise performance and reduce post-workout muscle soreness. A review found that taking citrulline as a supplement increases your aerobic performance by increasing the amount of nitric acid the body produces.
Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, reducing the demand on the heart to pump blood through the body. Some reports even suggest that watermelon itself can be a great recovery fruit after a workout.
One old study found that drinking watermelon juice without citrulline still ensures less muscle soreness. In fact, the researchers believe that it may also promote quick heart rate recovery.
Watermelon contains vitamins A and C, which are both essential for skin health. Health reports show that when eaten or applied topically, vitamin C contributes to the formation of collagen, a protein that keeps the skin fresh and the hair strong.
What’s more, one review discovered that a high intake of vitamin C may reduce your chances of developing wrinkles.
Vitamin A is also important for healthy skin, as it helps create and repair skin cells. In another review, researchers found that vitamin A deficiency in animals causes wounds to heal slowly. However, further human studies on watermelon specifically are needed.
Several plant compounds in watermelon, including lycopene and cucurbitacin E, have cancer-countering effects. Several studies have linked lycopene consumption to a lower risk of certain cancers, including prostate and colorectal cancers.
Health experts believe lycopene works by lowering blood levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a hormone that promotes cell division. When cell division becomes uncontrollable, your body becomes at risk of various forms of cancer.
Additionally, cucurbitacin E may impede tumor growth by enhancing the autophagy of cancer cells. Autophagy is the natural process in which the body removes damaged or unnecessary cells.
A refreshing watermelon fruit is not just a tasty addition to your plate. This delicious fruit comes with several benefits for your long-term and short-term health. To enjoy watermelon at its best, you need to eat it right after cutting. You can make watermelon salsa or add the juicy flesh to your vegetable salad.