What is Watermelon?
Watermelon 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 that 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 watermelon which is typically eaten.
As for accessing the total medicinal benefits of watermelons, 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, and don’t be afraid to eat the watermelon rind; there are quite a few nutrients in there as well, particularly roughage and fiber.
Nutritional Value of Watermelon
The healthy or beneficial effects of watermelon are mainly derived from its unique nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds. These include significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, 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 on a hot, summer day and it does sport a stylish scientific name of Citrullus lanatus, 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.
Treats Kidney Disorders
Watermelons contain a lot of potassium, which is very helpful in cleaning out the toxic depositions in the kidney. Moreover, they are helpful in reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood, thereby reducing the chances of kidney damage and the formation of renal calculi. In addition to this, being high in water content, watermelons induce urination, which is again helpful for cleaning the kidneys. Also, the antioxidants present in watermelon ensure good health of the kidneys for a long time and reduce signs of premature aging like wrinkles and age spots on the skin.
Prevents Heat Stroke
Watermelon is effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure. Many people in tropical regions eat this fruit every day in the afternoon during summer to protect themselves from heat stroke. The high amount of water in watermelons also stimulates a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The amount of potassium and magnesium present in watermelons is very beneficial in terms of lowering blood pressure. Potassium is considered a vasodilator, meaning that it releases the tension on blood vessels and arteries, thereby stimulating blood flow and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. The carotenoids present in these fruits also prevent hardening of artery walls and veins, thereby helping reduce blood pressure and the chances of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis.
Watermelons have gained a lot of attention in recent years, primarily because of their impressive level of lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient compound that is increasingly being linked to cancer prevention. Lycopene has been shown to significantly reduce the risks of prostate, breast, colon, lung, and endometrial cancer. All in all, between the antioxidant potential of vitamin C and the impact of lycopene, watermelon is a great anti-cancer fruit!
Diabetics, who are supposed to have a low energy and low sugar diet, often complain about starving since they don’t get to eat their staple diets, which gives them the feeling of being half-fed. Watermelons can be a good supplement for them. In spite of being sweet in taste, a thick wedge will give them very few calories, since ninety-nine percent of its total weight is composed of water and roughage. Moreover, the vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium help in proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus lowering the blood sugar level. Arginine, another component found in watermelons, is 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.
Lycopene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon, improves cardiac functions. Beta-carotene, known for its great antioxidant and anti-aging properties, keeps you young at heart and prevents age-related cardiac problems. The roughage in watermelon, along with vitamin C, carotenoids, and potassium (potassium cuts the risk of a heart attack), helps reduce cholesterol and keep your heart safe from many dangerous conditions.
Prevents Macular Degeneration
Don’t worry about eye health and macular degeneration if you eat plenty of watermelons. Thanks to the beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, your eyes are well protected. They ensure the protection of your eyes from age-related blindness and degeneration and prevent your eyes from ailments such as drying up of eyes and optic nerves, as well as glaucoma.
Arginine, present in watermelon, is beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction, and the stimulating nature of the chemical can boost the libido, reduce frigidity, and give your love life a fresh start after you enjoy a few slices of watermelon together!
Watermelon seeds are rich in beneficial fats and proteins. Watermelons contain phytonutrients which have very good effects on the health and proper functioning of internal organs, eyes, and the secretion system.
One of our 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: A new research study reveals pre-cut melons are a threat for the Salmonella outbreak. So, be cautious while consuming this otherwise healthy fruit.