The refreshing, sweet taste of watermelon on a hot day is something everyone can enjoy. Even better? The health benefits of watermelon are vast and may include the prevention of diseases and disorders, including kidney disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, heat stroke, macular degeneration, and even impotence.
What is Watermelon?
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a fruit that grows on a vine-like flowering plant native to Southern Africa. It was cultivated in the Nile River Valley, in Egypt, and eventually in China, roughly 1,000 years ago. Now, watermelon is grown around the world, and in 44 of the 50 states in America. It is specifically selected to grow larger and juicier, resulting in the huge fruits many of us are familiar with. The green outer rind is hard and fleshy, and rarely eaten, while the interior is soft, red, or pink flesh containing many seeds; this is the part of the watermelon that is typically eaten.
As for accessing the total medicinal benefits of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus), it is highly dependent on the variety of watermelon and the ripeness. Beta-carotene and lycopene are usually available in high quantities once the watermelon is completely ripe. While many consider the watermelon rind to be inedible, don’t be fooled; Not only can you consume it, but there are quite a few nutrients in there as well, particularly roughage and fiber.
Nutritional Content of Watermelon
The beneficial effects of watermelon are mainly derived from its unique mix of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds. These may include significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a large amount of potassium, as per the USDA. Furthermore, they may also contain vitamin A and B vitamins – vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin – and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene!
The question is, why is there so much craze for watermelon?
At first glance, it may seem like nothing more than a big ball of water. We all know that there is nothing more refreshing than a big, chilled wedge of watermelon, but what’s the real reason so many people flock to grocery stores every summer to buy a big fruit like this one? Well, it is hard to narrow it down to a single reason; there are actually a lot of them.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
All the above components of watermelons contribute to their major impact on health; let’s explore some more details of those benefits below.
May Give Relief from Kidney Disorders
Watermelons may contain a lot of potassium, as do many fruits and vegetables, which is thought to help flush out the toxic depositions in the kidney. Moreover, they can be known to reduce the concentration of uric acid in the blood, thereby may reduce the chances of kidney damage and the formation of renal calculi. In addition to this, being high in water content, watermelons can induce urination, which is again helpful for cleaning the kidneys. Also, the antioxidants present in watermelon may ensure good kidney health for a long time and may also reduce signs of premature aging like wrinkles and age spots on the skin. However, if you already have kidney disease, exercise caution in consuming watermelon as the high water and potassium content may do more harm than good.
May Prevent Dehydration
Research published in EXCLI Experimental and Clinical Sciences, states that watermelon is made up of 92 percent water and can be effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure. It may also help hydrate your body during the hot summer. People in tropical regions eat this fruit every day during the summer to protect themselves from heatstroke. The high amount of water in watermelons may also stimulate a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.
May Regulate Blood Pressure
The American Journal of Hypertension has published a study that states that watermelon extract can play a significant role in lowering blood pressure in obese people suffering from hypertension. Moreover, the amount of potassium and magnesium present in watermelons may prove to be very beneficial in terms of lowering blood pressure. Potassium is considered a vasodilator, meaning that it can release the tension on blood vessels and arteries, thereby stimulating blood flow and also can reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system. The carotenoids present in these fruits and others with high carotenoid content, such as guava – may also prevent the hardening of artery walls and veins, reduce blood pressure and the chances of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.15|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||7.55|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||0.4|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||6.2|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||1.58|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||7|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.24|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||10|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||11|
|Potassium, K [mg]||112|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||1|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.1|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.04|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.04|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||0.4|
|Fluoride, F [µg]||1.5|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||8.1|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.22|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.05|
|Folate, total [µg]||3|
|Folate, food [µg]||3|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||3|
|Choline, total [mg]||4.1|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||28|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||303|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]||78|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||569|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||8|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.05|
|Tocotrienol, alpha [mg]||0.01|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||0.1|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.02|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.04|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.05|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.04|
|Glutamic acid [g]||0.06|
|Sources include : USDA|
May Control Diabetes
Diabetics, who are supposed to follow a diet low in sugar and consistent in carbohydrates, often complain about starving, since they don’t get to eat their staple diets, which can give them the feeling of being half-fed. Watermelons can be a good supplement for them. Despite being sweet in taste, a thick wedge will give them very few calories, as ninety-nine percent of its total weight is composed of water and roughage. Moreover, the vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium may help in the proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus can lower the blood sugar level. Arginine, another component found in watermelons, can be very effective at enhancing the impact of insulin on blood sugar. Diabetics can also have curries, steaks, and salads made from watermelon rinds, which are even lower in sugar.
May Health Promote Heart Health
A 2014 study says that lycopene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon may help improve cardiac functions. Beta-carotene, known for its great antioxidant and anti-aging properties can help prevent age-related cardiac problems. The roughage in watermelon, along with vitamin C, carotenoids, and potassium (potassium cuts the risk of a heart attack), may help reduce cholesterol and keep your heart safe from many dangerous conditions. More research, however, is needed to confirm lycopene’s beneficial effect on cardiac function, but these initial results are promising!
May Reduce Inflammation
According to the Arthritis Foundation, eating this melon regularly can reduce the inflammatory marker CRP in the body. This, in turn, may help lessen the risk of arthritis and cardiovascular diseases. For instance, a 2015 animal model revealed that supplementation of watermelon powder may have helped lower inflammation and may have also cut down oxidative stress. Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory action may have been mainly due to the presence of carotenoids such as lycopene, vitamin C, and cryptoxanthin.
May Help Reduce Muscle Soreness
Studies show that watermelon juice can help reduce recovery heart rate and muscle soreness in athletes. Citruline is an amino acid present in watermelon that is also sold as a supplement for muscle soreness. However, research shows that citruline absorption can be more effective when had as watermelon juice rather than on its own.
May Aid In Digestion
A wedge of watermelon (286 g) contains 1.14 grams of dietary fiber, which can encourage a healthy dietary tract. The fruit also contains 90 percent water, which may also be important for promoting regular bowel movements.
May Improve Skin and Hair Health
Vitamins C and A, present in watermelon, may be well-known to boost skin and hair health. Vitamin C can play an essential role in connective tissue healing and in the production of collagen. Vitamin A, on other hand, can help repair skin cells and keep it young and supple.
May Prevent Macular Degeneration
Research suggests that carotenoids may help keep the vision health intact. Ocular health and macular degeneration may be less of a worry if you eat plenty of watermelons. Thanks to beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, your eyes are better protected. Benefits to your eyes may include defense from age-related blindness and degeneration, drying up of eyes and optic nerves, and glaucoma.
May Relieve from Impotence
Arginine, present in watermelon, is thought to be beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction, says a report published in the BJU International Journal. The stimulating nature of arginine may be considered to boost the libido, reduce frigidity, and give your love life a fresh start after you enjoy a few slices of watermelon together!
Rich In Nutrients
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 – a Mediterranean variety. 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!”
Word of Caution: Pre-cut melons were recently identified as a possible carrier of salmonella. So, be cautious while consuming this otherwise healthy fruit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we should avoid this contamination by choosing and handling the fruit safely to help prevent foodborne illness. Wash hands and food preparation surfaces before and after preparing the fruit. Refrigerate pre-cut fruit at 40 degrees F or colder.