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One of my favorite summer fruits must be the good old watermelon, it literally ticks all the boxes for me. Watermelon is juicy, it’s easy to eat, it has the perfect texture, it’s super refreshing, and best of all, it has the best flavors!
It’s also a super nutritious fruit, full of essential vitamin and minerals. It is also incredibly hydrating, and is naturally low-fat.
Make watermelon part of your daily diet and take advantage of the health benefits it offers, from improving cardiovascular health to boosting your immune system.
Nutritional Profile of Watermelon
Before we go to the list of health benefits, let’s first have a look at what’s typically inside the delicious watermelon.
Check out the below table with a summary of the nutritional profile of a watermelon. You will notice that watermelon offers a wide variety of different nutrients, with magnesium, vitamin A, B-vitamins and vitamin C standing out.
|Watermelon Nutritional Profile (raw – 100 g)|
|Dietary fiber||0.4 g|
|Calcium||7 mg (1% DV)|
|Potassium||112 mg (2% DV)|
|Magnesium||10 mg (3% DV)|
|Phosphorus||11 mg (2% DV)|
|Iron||0.24 mg (2% DV)|
|Zinc||0.10 mg (1% DV)|
|Vitamin A (RAE)||28 µg (4% DV)|
|Vitamin A (IU)||569 IU (3% DV)|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.033 mg (3% DV)|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.021 mg (2% DV)|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.178 mg (1% DV)|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.221 mg (4% DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.045 mg (3% DV)|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||3 µg (1%)|
|Vitamin C||8.1 mg (10%)|
|Sources: USDA, Wikipedia|
8 Surprising Watermelon Health Benefits
Here are 8 surprising health benefits of eating watermelon regularly!
1. Watermelon Hydrates
This may be an obvious one, but it’s still good to mention. Watermelon is the perfect fruit to help hydrate your body.
As you can see in the table above, watermelon consists of more than 90% water! Eat some watermelon after a workout, or on a warm summer’s day, and your body will thank you for it.
2. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Watermelon contains lycopene, a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a distinctive red color.
Studies have indicated that lycopene is important for maintaining cardiovascular health, as it helps to lower cholesterol and improves blood flow with vasodilation, the dilatation of blood pressure.
3. Improves Digestion
Like many other fruits and vegetables, watermelon contains dietary fiber which is important for having a healthy digestion. In addition, the high water content in watermelon helps to keep the digestive tract moving smoothly.
In general, eating fiber- and water-rich foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) can be very beneficial for maintaining healthy bowel movements.
4. Antioxidant Support
Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids and triterpenoids. The carotenoid lycopene in watermelon is especially beneficial in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals.
Watermelon also contains the triterpenoid cucurbitacin E, which provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking cyclo-oxygenase enzymes activity.
Riper watermelons contain higher amounts of these beneficial phenolic compounds.
5. Muscle And Nerve Support
Watermelon contains potassium and is therefore a great natural electrolyte and helps to regulate the activities of nerves and muscles in our body.
Potassium helps to control the degree and frequency with which our muscles contract and control the excitation of nerves.
Watermelon also contains citrulline, a non-essential amino acid that helps to reduce muscle soreness.
6. Helps to Improve Vision
The lycopene in watermelon may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts later in life, according to research.
Lycopene is the pigment that gives fruits like watermelons and tomatoes their red color. The redder the fruit, the more lycopene is present. Other sources of lycopene include pink grapefruit, apricots and blood oranges.
Watermelons have an alkaline-forming effect on our body when they are fully ripe.
Eating more alkaline-forming foods (such as fruits and vegetables) can help reduce your risk of developing diseases caused by high-acid diets (meat, eggs, dairy).
8. Good for Hair and Skin
Watermelon is a reasonably good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, and both are good for hair and skin health.
Vitamin A is important because it helps to create and repair skin cells, whereas vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, an essential protein that keeps our skin healthy.
The antioxidants in watermelon also help protect our skin against sunburn, by increasing the basal defense against UV light-mediated damage.
Final Thoughts on Watermelon
Do you love watermelon as much as I do? I hope you do, especially after reading about all the goodness this fruit has to offer!
Apart from eating chunks of watermelon as a healthy afternoon snack, I also love adding watermelon to my smoothies. Watermelon blends really well with veggies such as spinach and kale, due to its sweetness.