11 major benefits of watermelon that prove why it’s healthy for you

Nothing tastes like summer more than a slice of crunchy, juicy and refreshing watermelon. It is a staple of backyard barbecues and well-stocked at local farmers’ markets at this time of year. Watermelon, which can actually be considered a fruit or vegetable, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, is also incredibly nutritious.

Nutritionists claim that watermelon is low in calories and sugar and chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. Plus, it’s fun to eat! “Eating watermelon makes me feel carefreelike a kid again on a summer picnic enjoying the outdoors with the people I care about the most, “she says Kris Sollid, MS, RDsenior director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council.

Here is an overview of some of the best health benefits of watermelon, according to nutritionists.

Nutritional information on watermelon

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of watermelon (152 g) contains:

  • Calories: 45.6
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 1.52 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Vitamin C: 12.3 mg
  • Potassium: 170 mg
  • Calcium: 10 mg
  • Vitamin A: 865 IU
  • Lycopene: 6,890 micrograms

    Is it okay to eat watermelon every day?

    Only about 10 percent of Americans eat the recommended two cups of fruit each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since it is low in calories and sugar, you can safely eat more servings of watermelon every day without guessing any long-term food impact, but Sollid says it’s best for your dietary health to try varying the types of fruit you eat. Different fruits contain different nutrients, so eating one variety will ensure your body has everything it needs.

    It is really possible to eat too much of it everythingincluding watermelon, he adds Grace Derocha, RDN, CDCES, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While it may be tempting to work half or more of an entire watermelon in one sitting on a hot summer afternoon, experts like Derocha say it’s better to eat one cup at a time as a general recommendation, rather than a whole fruit outright.

    Watermelon is considered a fruit that is high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), meaning it contains short-chain sugars that some people have a hard time digesting, says Derocha, so “it can cause bloating or discomfort. if consumed in large quantities. “

    People with diabetes or who may need to count their carbohydrate servings should also pay attention to their watermelon intake, he adds. Eating too much fruit could introduce too much sugar into your diet, leading to blood sugar fluctuations, which can be risky for people with diabetes.

    What are the health benefits of watermelon?

    “Watermelon is a naturally low-calorie package,” he says Christina Mayer-Jax, RDN, LDN, President of Standard Process Nutrition and assistant professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University. “Contributes key antioxidant nutrients that support disease prevention and general well-being.”

    Here are 11 health benefits of watermelon:

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    1) It is preloaded with essential nutrients

    A right 46 calories per cup, watermelon packs a punch when it comes to nutrients. It contains about 15 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C, along with a wealth of other vitamins and minerals including potassium and vitamins A and B6, says Sollid.

    Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and helps the body absorb iron, says Derocha, while vitamin A is critical for skin and eye health. Watermelon is also rich in potassium, which works to lower blood pressure and supports nerve functioning, and vitamin B6, which helps the body break down the proteins you eat and also strengthens the immune system and function. nervous.

    2) Offers a large dose of lycopene

    Lycopene is a natural compound found in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables that has antioxidant properties. The substance is also what gives watermelon its red color; but beyond its hue, lycopene is good for you too. Meyer-Jax says it has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and age-related eye ailments. Lycopene works to protect cells from damage, Sollid says, and research suggests it can have blood pressure-lowering effects when consumed regularly through dietary means.

    3) Watermelon helps keep you hydrated

    Watermelon is made up of over 90% water. “As the name suggests, watermelon can keep you hydrated,” Derocha explains. “We get 80% hydration from what we drink and 20% from what we eat; watermelon can definitely help with this balanced intake.”

    Most adults don’t drink enough water, and hydration is especially important in the summer when temperatures soar and you may lose fluids due to sweating.

    Meyer-Jax recommends eating watermelon sprinkled with a little salt after a workout or when you’ve been sweating for a long time. “The combination of carbohydrates and salt is ideal for replenishing lost electrolytes and carbohydrate stores,” she says.

    4) Adds to healthy digestion

    Watermelon contains a high water content and a small amount of fiber. “Both are key to keeping digestion running smoothly,” says Meyer-Jax. Fiber adds volume to stool and keeps you regular, while water helps move waste through your digestive system.

    5) It could help with weight management

    Choosing watermelon over another sweet snack can help you feel full longer, explains Meyer-Jax. Limited research published in the journal Nutrients in 2019 found that subjects considered overweight or clinically obese and who ate watermelon instead of low-fat cookies experienced greater satiety, for example. Daily consumption of watermelon was associated with a decrease in the subjects’ body weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and waist circumference.

    6) It can improve heart health

    Research shows that consuming foods with lycopene can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A 2012 study published in American Journal of Hypertension suggested a link between the fruit and heart disease, as research has suggested that watermelon extract can lower blood pressure for an extended period of time. “The authors suggested that L-citrulline and L-arginine – two of the antioxidants in watermelon – may improve artery function,” suggests Derocha.

    7) It could work to reduce the risk of cancer

    The lycopene in watermelon can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals (the unstable molecules the body produces naturally, which can cause disease) and the body’s ability to fight their effects. Chronic inflammation can increase the risk of some diseases, including cancer, and research shows that lycopene has the potential to reduce inflammation and prevent cancer cells from growing, reducing the risk of disease. Studies have shown that increasing lycopene intake can reduce the risk of digestive tract cancer and prostate cancer.

    8) Watermelon can help reduce inflammation

    A specific combination of antioxidants, lycopene and vitamin C, found in watermelon can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage over time, explains Derocha. Inflammation can cause swelling, pain, or redness of the skin for those who experience it. And chronic inflammation can lead to serious conditions, including cancer, asthma, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

    9) It’s great for your skin

    “The water and vitamins A, B6 and C in watermelon help the skin stay soft, smooth and supple,” says Derocha. Vitamin C increases collagen production, which improves skin elasticity and blood flow to the skin. And Vitamin A helps repair skin cells, preventing dry, flaky skin, while Vitamin B6 helps with rashes.

    Lycopene may play a role in protecting skin from the sun, Derocha adds, making sunburn less likely. But it definitely doesn’t mean you should skip sunscreen, she points out; it is vital to apply your choice of SPF regularly.

    10) It can relieve sore muscles

    A small study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that athletes who drank watermelon juice saw a reduction in muscle pain for up to 24 hours. The juice also helped lower the recovery heart rate. Researchers have linked watermelon juice’s ability to relieve muscle aches to hers L-citrulline content, which is an amino acid that helps reduce muscle damage. While scientists need more concrete evidence to confirm the magnitude of this benefit, this link may prompt you to consider adding watermelon juice to your post-workout routine.

    11) Watermelon seeds and peel are also nutritious

    When eating fresh watermelon, most people stick to the red or pink flesh. But you can also eat the peel and seeds, as they offer their holistic health benefits.

    The rinds are less sugary and higher in fiber than the pulp of a watermelon, says Meyer-Jax: “When eaten with the rest of the cantaloupe, it helps slow the absorption of sugar in the gut and dampens the rise in blood sugar. “. They also contain watermelon peels L-citrullinewhich can reduce blood pressure and increase athletic performance.

    Watermelon seeds, which can be eaten raw or dried, are high in magnesium, which, explains Derocha, plays a key role in energy production, nerve function, DNA and protein synthesis, as well as regulating blood pressure. . They also contain folate, which can help the risk of cancer and depression. The seeds are good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which protect against heart attack and stroke and lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood.

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