Watermelon is a refreshing and sweet low-calorie summer snack. It provides hydration and also essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Watermelon is also relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits and it contains only 46 calories per cup.
This fruit is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, and an important antioxidant called lycopene. It is also a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, calcium, and healthy fatty acids. Moreover, watermelon contains a specific amino acid called L-citrulline that’s converted into the amino acid arginine, which is associated with cardiovascular benefits and more.
Here are some of the top benefits of watermelon:
1. Can help support immunity
According to studies, watermelon consumption has been associated with reduced inflammation and improved antioxidant capacity. One of the antioxidant compounds found in this fruit, lycopene, has powerful antioxidant properties and can help decrease oxidative stress. Lycopene may help keep your heart healthy, as well as protect against certain types of cancers, diabetes, and macular degeneration, according to recent research.
Studies also suggest that eating watermelon can increase arginine levels, which is important for the synthesis of nitric oxide. Besides helping dilate the blood vessels and keeping blood flowing efficiently, nitric oxide is also involved in regulating the function of the immune system. The fruit is also rich in vitamin C, which is proven to be a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that can protect your body from chronic diseases.
2. May improve heart health
Regularly eating watermelon helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the journal Nutrition, L-citrulline in watermelon juice increases arginine which is necessary for good cardiovascular health and a healthy immune system. In one study, adults consumed 780 ml (26 fl. oz) or 1.5 l (52 fl. oz.) watermelon juice daily. After 3 weeks, researchers noted a significant rise in arginine levels.
Another study involving postmenopausal women discovered that watermelon supplements helped to decrease arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness is often connected with a plaque build-up in the arteries that can lead to a heart attack.
One clinical trial on 80 men discovered that drinking watermelon juice helped to boost nitric oxide levels and increase muscle oxygenation during intense physical exercise. Nitric oxide is an important molecule in the body that improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure.
3. Can relieve pain and soreness
As we mentioned above, watermelon is loaded with a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to protect cartilage and bones, aid in the repair of tendons and ligaments, and help speed up wound healing. This fruit also contains potassium and magnesium, two essential nutrients that aid in the prevention of muscle cramps following exercise and helps you heal from injury more quickly.
4. Helps prevent kidney stones
Studies have shown that the potassium found in fruits and vegetables is very helpful in cleaning toxins and washing out waste from the blood, helping prevent kidney stones. Watermelon benefits also include being a natural diuretic. It helps increase urine production to transport waste and toxins out of the body to protect against kidney stones.
5. Aids in hydration
Watermelon is around 90 percent water and can help you satisfy your daily hydration needs, especially during hot summer days. It will also aid in detoxification and help rid the body of excess water and fluids, relieving uncomfortable bloating and swelling. However, it is not just the water content of watermelon that makes it great for hydration. Watermelon also contains electrolytes that are important for your metabolism. It contains electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphate.
6. May help fight cancer
This fruit may act as a potent cancer-fighting food. According to studies, watermelon contains vitamin C, lycopene, and other phytochemical antioxidants that have a protective effect against many cancer types, especially cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. Research also shows that lycopene plays a part in keeping cell membranes strong so they can protect themselves from toxins that can potentially cause cell death or mutation.
It’s also a great supplier of antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which help fight free radical damage and prevent DNA mutation to block the formation of cancerous cells. Studies have also shown that high doses of vitamin C can enhance the cancer-fighting effects of certain drugs used in chemotherapy while also reducing the adverse side effects of traditional cancer treatments.
7. Helps protect the skin
Watermelon benefits the skin because it’s one of the top antioxidant foods available. Due to its high content of antioxidant vitamins A and C, watermelon benefits for skin include its ability to protect the cells against damage and fight free radical formation to slow aging and keep your skin looking healthy.
Vitamin C is especially important for skin health. It helps boost collagen production while also helping prevent sun damage. Meanwhile, vitamin A is key to maintaining the health of your cells and protecting against UV damage.
8. Supports healthy vision
Watermelon contains important nutrients that play a role in protecting eye health including beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that a serious vitamin A deficiency, for instance, can lead to macular degeneration, a condition characterized by the thickening of the cornea that could eventually lead to blindness. Moreover, studies have found that the antioxidant lycopene may help protect against age-related macular degeneration and may prevent a decrease in vision.
9. May help with weight loss
The reason why watermelon is good for losing weight is that its high-water content makes you feel fuller. Watermelon contains about 90 percent water but it is also rich in vitamins and nutrients. According to the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, increasing fluid intake helps with weight loss. Scientists discovered that hydration improves metabolism and helps lose weight faster.
For instance, consuming 2 large wedges of watermelon will give you the equivalent of drinking 500 milliliters (16 oz) of water. This large portion of watermelon only has 170 calories and helps you satisfy nearly 80 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements. One cup of watermelon chunks contains about 9 grams of sugar and only 45 calories. It also contains only 0,2 grams of fat, a little bit of fiber, and no cholesterol. Therefore, watermelon can help you lose weight because it is loaded with nutrients but is naturally low in calories.
10. Can improve exercise recovery
Drinking a large glass of watermelon juice after working out can help your body recover faster and prevent muscle stiffness. One study out of Spain in 2013 found when athletes drank 500 mL of natural watermelon juice and then went all out on an exercise bike, they saw a lower recovery heart rate and less muscle soreness 24 hours later. This is probably thanks to that super bioavailable citrulline again, but this study is interesting because the athletes drank just two cups of the fruit juice.
11. May benefit reproductive/sexual health
As mentioned above, consuming the juice and flesh of this fruit can help relieve arterial stiffness, support circulation, and improve blood pressure. This suggests that watermelon may also be good for you sexually, as it can help with blood flow and therefore arousal.
Some people even call watermelon nature’s Viagra because its amino acid L-citrulline can help treat erectile problems in men. According to one study, taking L-citrulline supplements can benefit men with mild erectile dysfunction. Although not as effective as Viagra, L-citrulline has no side effects.
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