Watermelon definitely tops the list of foods that people love to eat in the summer. It is a refreshing, delicious and thirst-quenching fruit. Its rich nutritional profile means it is also immensely good for your health.
Watermelon is an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber and vitamins C, A and B. Plus, it has potassium along with other important minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. It also contains enzymes, organic acids and natural sugars.
The water content in watermelon is also extremely helpful in keeping the body hydrated during the hot summer months.
The fruit is equally great for what it doesn’t have—no fat or cholesterol and very little sodium.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of watermelon.
1. Controls High Blood Pressure
Watermelon can help control high blood pressure. The potassium, magnesium and amino acids in watermelon work together to maintain the health of blood vessels and ward off sclerosis, in turn ensuring smooth blood flow.
Watermelon also helps maintain proper electrolyte and acid-base balances in the body that helps lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Watermelon can significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals, both at rest and while under stress, according to a study by Florida State University faculty published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, drink one glass of watermelon juice daily to keep your blood pressure under control.
2. Reduces Body Fat
Watermelon is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol, all of which aid weight loss. One important component in watermelon that helps with weight loss is a compound called citrulline.
This compound metabolizes into the essential amino acid arginine that helps reduce the rate at which the body stores fat and improves cardiovascular functioning, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Containing more than 90 percent water, watermelon also fills you up quickly and helps control over eating.
This summer, replace high-calorie snacks or desserts with watermelon.
3. Hydrates the Body
This thirst-quenching fruit helps keep the body hydrated. Watermelon contains more than 90% water and helps replenish body fluids and restore electrolytes.
It also contains essential rehydration salts–calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium – that help hydrate the body and skin and reduce the chance of dehydration to a great extent.
A 2009 study at the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that the combination of salts, minerals and natural sugars in watermelon and certain other water-rich fruits and vegetables can actually hydrate the body better than water.
During the hot summer days, drink one to two glasses of watermelon juice daily to stay well hydrated.
4. Improves Eye Health
Watermelon is extremely good for your eyes. Being an excellent source of beta-carotene that is converted in the body to vitamin A, watermelon helps maintain eye health.
Vitamin A along with lycopene helps produce the pigments in the eye’s retina and provides protection against macular degeneration, night blindness and other age-related eye problems.
Plus, watermelon has vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin that are essential to keep your eyes healthy and free from different types of infections.
Eating one cup of watermelon daily is recommended for your overall vision health.
5. Keeps Kidneys Healthy
Being a natural diuretic, watermelon is highly beneficial for your kidneys. It helps the body flush out harmful toxins, purifies the liver, stimulates kidney function and reduces uric acid in the blood.
Watermelon helps the liver process ammonia, a kind of waste product from protein digestion, which eases strain on the kidneys while getting rid of excess fluids.
It can also ease swelling and kidney inflammation to some extent and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
If you are producing less urine than normal or having difficultly urinating, you can eat watermelon or drink some watermelon juice to help make enough urine to remove waste from the body.
Note: Watermelon should be avoided by people with advanced kidney disease.
6. Improves Mood
Watermelon can also improve your mood. It is high in vitamin B6, an essential nutrient that is important in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters responsible for calming mood.
Plus, its high vitamin C content protects the body against free radicals. Free-radical damage contributes to cognitive decline, irritability and depression. Watermelon also helps balance hormones, which can affect your mood when out of balance.
By eating a few slices of this fruit daily, you can lift your mood, reduce stress, and combat depression and anxiety.
7. Heart Healthy
Consuming watermelon also improves the condition of your heart. Watermelon contains a good amount of potassium that helps combat heart disease and keep your heart healthy.
It also contains the amino acids citrulline and arginine that help maintain arteries, blood flow and overall cardiovascular functioning.
A study from Purdue University and University of Kentucky published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry also found that citrulline present in this fruit improves cardiovascular health.
Plus, it has lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C that help reduce cholesterol and prevent many cardiac problems.
To maintain a healthy heart, follow a diet rich in antioxidants and low in fat and cholesterol. Watermelon meets all of those needs.
8. Combats Cancer
Regular consumption of watermelon can even combat cancer. Watermelon is among the best dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to both the prevention and treatment of different types of cancer.
According to several research works lycopene is helpful in reducing the risk of prostate, breast and endometrial cancers, as well as lung and colon cancer.
Plus, it contains vitamins C and A that play an active role in protecting cells from free-radical damage, in turn helping reduce the risk of several cancers.
To enjoy the anti-cancer benefits of watermelon, try to eat the flesh as well as the rind.
9. Boosts Energy Levels
A daily serving of watermelon has been shown to boost energy levels by up to 23 percent. It is a rich source of vitamins B6 and B1. The body uses vitamin B6 to synthesize feel good dopamine.
It also contains magnesium that helps form adenosine triphosphate, which fuels cellular functions to keep your energy level high all-day. Plus, it has potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are all natural energy boosters.
Next time you feel sluggish or weak and you need instant energy, have a slice of watermelon. You can also blend some watermelon with one tablespoon of honey, a little bit of lemon juice and one-half cup of water to make your own energy drink.
10. Rich in Antioxidants
Watermelon is a storehouse of powerful antioxidants that help keep you healthy and free from many diseases. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids like lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.
These antioxidants protect your body against free radicals that can cause inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, strokes and heart attacks.
Watermelon can also minimize skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) sun rays and protect your skin from many harmful and toxic air pollutants. This can have a huge impact in preventing pre-mature aging.
Also, the vitamin C present in watermelon helps strengthen immunity to better protect your body from seasonal allergies and common infections.
To maximize the antioxidant benefits of watermelon, make sure to pick ripe watermelons and eat them fresh.
Alone or in a fruit salad or in juice form, do not forget to include watermelon in your diet to enjoy its many health benefits.