Writer Mark Twain once said, “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what angels eat.”
Anyone and everyone has definitely tasted this juicy, sweet and refreshing fruit once in his lifetime. And surely hasn’t stopped there. Containing an astounding 92% water, the name was a bygone conclusion. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, home to the cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, and gourd species that grow on vines on the ground.
Watermelons come in various shapes and sizes –round, oblong, or spherical in shape, and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. Between 1,200 different varieties of watermelon exist worldwide, but all of these varieties belong to the same scientific genus and species of plant, called Citrullis lanatus. While we often associate a deep red/pink color with watermelons, there are many varieties that feature orange, yellow, or white flesh. These varieties are typically lower in the carotenoid lycopene than red/pink varieties.
Watermelons have been cultivated about 5000 years in Egypt and traveled over time via Asia and Europe to North America, with its colonization by the Europeans. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
Some common varieties of seeded watermelon include Jubilee, Royal Jubilee, Royal Sweet, Crimson Sweet, Sangria, Fiesta, Sugar Baby, Baby Doll, and Charleston Gray. Some of the more common seedless varieties include Fandango, Super Cool, Honeyheart, King of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, Crimson Trio, Scarlet Trio, and SuperSweet.
14 JUICY BENEFITS OF WATERMELON:
- Stabilizes pH Balance: Watermelon juice maintains the acid-alkaline balance in the body, neutralizing the toxic condition of the body resulting from excessive intake of acid-forming foods reducing your risk of bone and organ degeneration.
- Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant: Ripe watermelons are rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids, reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. Make sure you pick ripe watermelons, because they contain higher amounts of these beneficial phenolic compounds.
- Soothes Asthma: The powerful anti-oxidant in watermelon reduces toxic matters in the body that in turn reduces asthma attacks.
- Strengthens Bones: Dietary lycopene reduces oxidative stress and activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the two major bone cells involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Watermelon is also rich in potassium which helps to retain calcium in your body, resulting in stronger bones and joints.
- Toxic Cleanser: Watermelon has cleansing, alkalinizing, diuretic and mineralizing properties. It is very effective in promoting intestinal elimination, keeping the body free from toxic wastes.Watermelons help the liver process ammonia (waste from protein digestion) which eases strain on the kidneys while getting rid of excess fluids.
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels: Folate, lycopene and the other essential vitamins prevent clogging of arteries, increase HDL cholesterol, and improve blood flow via vasodilation. Magnesium helps maintain normal blood pressure, and beneficial in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension besides controlling blood pressure.
- Fights Prostate Cancer: Lycopene (from red watermelons) has been extensively researched for its anti-oxidant and cancer-preventing properties. It is reported to be especially protective against prostate cancer.
- Weight Loss: Citrulline, an amino acid that kidneys converts to arginine, when consumed, has the ability to block the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase) that blocks the over-accumulation of body fat.
- Protein Rich Food: Watermelon seeds are rich sources of protein which along with its amino acids, are vital for growth and repair of muscles, skin and connective tissues as well as for making enzymes.
- Muscle & Nerve Support: Potassium is a vital nutrient and a great natural electrolyte that regulates the stimulation of nerves and contraction action of muscle tissues.
- Improves Vision: Vitamin A, converted by the body from Beta-carotene, helps produce the pigments in the retina of the eye and protects against age-related macular degeneration as well as prevents night blindness.
- Vitamin B Super-source: Watermelon seeds are excellent source of multivitamin B (niacin, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid) that are vital for maintaining healthy blood, nervous system and effective immune response.
- Skin Care: Watermelon seed essential oil’s antioxidants and other nutrients keep your skin moisturized, soft, firm, and prevent acne and other skin disorders. rejuvenates the elasticity of your skin.
- Hair Care: Copper aids the production of melanin, the hair’s color pigment, and provides moisturizing benefits and improves hair growth by maintaining hair and scalp health.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Allergies: Watermelon contains enzymes -malate dehydrogenase, and triose phosphate isomerase, and you may experience an allergy to watermelon if you have allergic sensitivities to latex, celery, cucumber or carrot, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including hives, facial swelling, diarrhea or anaphylaxis.
- Toxins: Some studies predict residues of forchlorfenuron (a synthetic growth stimulator) in the range of 1-5 ppb in watermelons, so opt for organically certified melons to avoid the toxins.
- Gastrointestinal: Consuming large amounts (>30 mg) of lycopene-rich foods, such as tomatoes and watermelon, may result in gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion and bloating.
- Hyperkalemia: Consuming larger quantities of foods containing potassium, such as watermelon, may adversely affect people diagnosed with hyperkalemia (kidney disorder resulting in potassium excess in blood), resulting in dangerous cardiovascular effects such as irregular heartbeats, a weak or absent pulse and cardiac arrest as well as adversely affect nerve and muscle control.