Watermelon is a popular summer fruit. It’s a tasty, sweet, cooling treat for those hot summer months. Fortunately for us, watermelon has a lot of hidden health benefits that can do wonders for our body. Here are 8 reasons why we should be eating more watermelon.
1. Prevents Inflammation
Watermelon contains plenty of antioxidants like carotenoids and lycopene.1 These compounds help prevent oxidative stress which is caused when there is an excess of inflammation. In other words, these compounds prevent deterioration or damage that the body might suffer. They help reduce the likelihood of diseases and helps us recover faster as well.
2. Prevents Cancer
These antioxidants have a role in preventing the development of cancer. Studies show that lycopene, one of the antioxidants in watermelon, has been linked with reducing the likelihood of cancers in the digestive system.2
3. Preserves Eyesight
Carotenoids are known for their role in maintaining eye health. Specifically, without these compounds, a condition called macular degeneration can set in. It is a decaying of the retina. Carotenoids help prevent this decay and therefore preserve one’s eyesight.3
4. Helps Muscle Soreness
Studies have shown that watermelon helps relieve muscle soreness after physical activity. This is because of a compound called citrulline.4 The effect was most noticeable when athletes had fresh unpasteurized watermelon juice as opposed to packaged watermelon juice.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
A compound in watermelon called citrulline, maintains heart health by reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that watermelon helps reduce overall blood pressure levels in people who show signs of prehypertension.5
True to its name, watermelon is about 92% water.6 Since our body is 2/3rds water, eating watermelon can help hydrate the body and provide some necessary hydration. This combined with its nutritional value makes watermelon quite the health food.
7. Cools The Body Down
Thanks to the water content, watermelon keeps cold very well. If you store freshly cut watermelon in the fridge, it makes a healthy cold treat during the summer months. It will cool down your overall body temperature during the summer months and prevent overheating.
8. Keeps Skin Healthy
Watermelon contains essential vitamins A and C.7 Both of these are essential for healthy skin maintenance. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen which provides firmness and elasticity to the skin. Both carotenoids and lycopene may help protect your skin from sun damage as well.8
9. Helps Digestion
A good amount of water is essential to keep your bowels moving. Watermelon also contains a small amount of fiber which can bulk up the stool and make things move along much easier.
10. Reduces Blood Sugar
L-citrulline, the compound that helps reduce blood pressure, seems to show promise in controlling blood sugar levels. Diabetic rats that were fed watermelon showed a significant improvement in their blood sugar levels.9
If you’re wondering what to stock up on during the summer, watermelon makes a great option. Not only is it a refreshing and nutritional snack, it’s easy for kids to eat and provides a great accompaniment to outdoor barbecues and parties.
|↑1||Tadmor, Yaakov, Stephen King, Amnon Levi, Angela Davis, Ayala Meir, Boris Wasserman, Joseph Hirschberg, and Efraim Lewinsohn. “Comparative fruit colouration in watermelon and tomato.” Food Research International 38, no. 8 (2005): 837-841.|
|↑2, ↑3||Naz, Ambreen, Masood Sadiq Butt, Muhammad Tauseef Sultan, Mir Muhammad Nasir Qayyum, and Rai Shahid Niaz. “Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims.” EXCLI journal 13 (2014): 650.|
|↑4||Tarazona-Díaz, Martha P., Fernando Alacid, María Carrasco, Ignacio Martínez, and Encarna Aguayo. “Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 61, no. 31 (2013): 7522-7528.|
|↑5||Figueroa, Arturo, Marcos A. Sanchez-Gonzalez, Penelope M. Perkins-Veazie, and Bahram H. Arjmandi. “Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic blood pressure and wave reflection in individuals with prehypertension: a pilot study.” American journal of hypertension 24, no. 1 (2011): 40-44.|
|↑6, ↑7||Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture|
|↑8||Stahl, Wilhelm, and Helmut Sies. “Photoprotection by dietary carotenoids: concept, mechanisms, evidence and future development.” Molecular nutrition & food research 56, no. 2 (2012): 287-295.|
|↑9||Wu, Guoyao, Julie K. Collins, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Muhammad Siddiq, Kirk D. Dolan, Katherine A. Kelly, Cristine L. Heaps, and Cynthia J. Meininger. “Dietary supplementation with watermelon pomace juice enhances arginine availability and ameliorates the metabolic syndrome in Zucker diabetic fatty rats.” The Journal of nutrition 137, no. 12 (2007): 2680-2685.|