Top 13 Health Benefits Of Watermelon

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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, 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. [1]

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! [2]

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 watermelonbut 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. [3]

2 watermelon popsicles and a plate full of sliced watermelon on a white wooden background

Watermelon popsicles are delicious and healthy treats. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

May Help With Weight Management

Several research studies have indicated the potential health benefits of watermelon, particularly in the context of weight management. [4]

A study published in the journal Nutrients found that adults who ate fresh watermelon daily for 4 weeks lost weight and had lower blood pressure than those who ate low-fat cookies. The study also found that watermelon consumption led to improvements in satiety and fullness.

A recent pilot study found that people who followed a watermelon-enhanced anti-inflammatory diet for 3 months lost body fat, body mass index (BMI), and body weight. The study also found that people who made their diet more anti-inflammatory had better results, regardless of whether they were in the watermelon-enhanced group or the control group. [5] [6]

Another study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that children overweight or obese who consumed whole-blenderized watermelon daily for 8 weeks had improvements in body mass index (BMI), BMI percentile, body fat percentage, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). [7]

Overall, the research suggests that watermelon may be a helpful food for weight management and improving cardiometabolic health. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dose and duration of watermelon consumption for these purposes.

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. [8] [9]

May Regulate Blood Pressure

The American Journal of Hypertension [10] 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. A meta-analysis of six studies found that lycopene supplementation significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) in people with high blood pressure. [11]

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.

Watermelon also contains the amino acid l-citrulline. Supplementation with l-citrulline has been shown to lower blood pressure.  [12]

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. [13]

Nutrition Facts

Watermelon, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]91.45
Energy 30
Energy [kJ]127
Protein [g]0.61
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.15
Ash [g]0.25
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]7.55
Fiber, total dietary [g]0.4
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]6.2
Sucrose [g]1.21
Glucose (dextrose) [g]1.58
Fructose [g]3.36
Maltose [g]0.06
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
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.18
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
Betaine [mg]0.3
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]28
Carotene, beta [µg]303
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]78
Vitamin A, IU [IU]569
Lycopene [µg]4532
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
10:0 [g]0
12:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.04
18:1 [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.05
18:2 [g]0.05
Phytosterols [mg]2
Tryptophan [g]0.01
Threonine [g]0.03
Isoleucine [g]0.02
Leucine [g]0.02
Lysine [g]0.06
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0
Phenylalanine [g]0.02
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.02
Arginine [g]0.06
Histidine [g]0.01
Alanine [g]0.02
Aspartic acid [g]0.04
Glutamic acid [g]0.06
Glycine [g]0.01
Proline [g]0.02
Serine [g]0.02
Sources include : USDA [14]

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 it very few calories, as ninety-nine percent of its total weight is composed of water and roughage. Moreover, 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. [15]

May Health Promote Heart Health


Watermelon is a delicious and nutritious fruit that may be beneficial for heart health. It contains lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects.

Here are some of the ways that lycopene in watermelon may promote heart health:

  • Improves cholesterol levels: Watermelon contains lycopene, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. [18]
  • Reduces blood pressure: Lycopene may also help reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. [19]
  • Reduces inflammation: A study found that overweight and obese postmenopausal women who consumed watermelon puree daily for 6 weeks had a significant decrease in soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk. [20]
  • Improves antioxidant status: Watermelon contains antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, which can help protect against damage from free radicals. [21]

Overall, watermelon is a healthy and nutritious fruit that may be beneficial for heart health. More research is needed, but the 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. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

May Help Reduce Muscle Soreness

Research suggests that watermelon juice, containing the amino acid citrulline, can have a positive impact on athletes’ recovery. Citrulline, which is also available as a supplement, has been the subject of a systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 studies. This comprehensive analysis revealed that citrulline supplementation leads to a significant reduction in post-exercise perceived exertion (RPE) and muscle soreness experienced 24 and 48 hours after exercise. However, the effect on muscle soreness at the 72-hour mark and blood lactate levels was not statistically significant. [27] [28] [29]

Notably, research indicates that citrulline absorption is more effective when consumed as part of watermelon juice as opposed to a standalone supplement, underlining the potential benefits of this natural source for athletes. [30]

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. [31] [32]

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 the other hand, can help repair skin cells and keep it young and supple. [33] [34] [35]

May Prevent Macular Degeneration

Research suggests that carotenoids may help keep 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. [36] [37]

May Remedy Erectile Dysfunction

Arginine, present in watermelon, is thought to be beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction, according to 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! [38]

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. [39]

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. [40] [41] Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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