Top 10 health benefits of watermelon – Earthlydiets
Watermelon is a fleshy, sweet, and juicy fruit containing antioxidants, nutrients like citrulline, lycopene, and vitamins C and A. It provides hydration and is a low-calorie (about 46) fruit that has over 10 health benefits backed up by research. Depending on the variety and ripeness of watermelon various health benefits are unlocked- completely, ripe melons contain high levels of beta-carotene and lycopene. Although the outer green rind is generally considered inedible, it contains nutrients and is very rich in roughages and fiber which aid bowel movement and digestion.
Watermelon originates from Northeast Africa where it was first domesticated over 4,000 years ago. Watermelon is currently grown around the world and some have been genetically modified to yield choice produce. It is a typical big circular fruit having an edible bright red flesh with small seeds which is protected by a hard green rind. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family just like the cucumber, cantaloupe, and honeydew. There are five common types of watermelon
Research suggests that watermelon may reduce muscle soreness, decrease inflammation, and may even boost heart health although this is still an ongoing research field. We have put together the top 10 health benefits and nutritional content of watermelon.
Top 10 health benefits of watermelon
- Keeps the body hydrated
- Anticancer properties
- Contains essential phytonutrients and healthy plant compounds
- Improves skin health and promotes hair growth
- Protects the skin from sunburn
- Metabolic syndrome
- Advisable for pregnant women
- Diuretic properties
- Prevents macular degeneration
- Promotes healthy gums
1. Keeps the body hydrated
Watermelon is made up of about 92% water. It is a great option to ensure hydration, especially during the heat of summer to support overall health. The body needs to stay hydrated to function properly. Hydration controls body homeostasis, organ function, bodily process, and nutrient delivery to cells. Shortage of water in cells can make one sluggish, cause fatigue, and in serious cases, fluids are induced by IV.
Watermelon due to its high water content is low-calorie, that is it contains very few calories for its total weight and it may aid weight management as it creates a sense of feeling full for longer.
2. Anticancer properties
Watermelon contains phytonutrients and compounds which may have anticancer properties- lycopene and cucurbitacin E are some examples.
Studies have shown that the consumption of foods containing lycopene may lower the risk of some types of cancer like colorectal and prostate cancers. Lycopene is made up of compounds that lower the blood levels of a hormone responsible for cell division -insulin-like growth factor (IGF). When cell division becomes uncontrollable, cancer is formed. Lycopene inhibits IGF thereby regulating cell division. Lycopene also acts as an antioxidant mopping up free radicals in cells. It is also responsible for the cherry red color of watermelon. Want more lycopene? Go for the bright red melons rather than the orange or yellow which are not properly ripened.
3. Contains essential phytonutrients and healthy plant compounds
Watermelon is very rich in phytonutrients and contains quite a variety of them- carotenoids, lycopene, potassium, cucurbitacin, magnesium, and vitamins C and A.
Watermelon is a very good source of citrulline, a type of amino acid that improves exercise performance, and boosts antioxidation. The antioxidant compounds contain properties that neutralize free radicals, (molecules that cause oxidative damage when accumulated in the body) These cell damage may lead to other serious health issues like cancer, diabetes, or heart conditions.
152 grams (1 cup) of diced watermelon contains about
- Calories: 46
- Carbs: 11.5 grams
- Sugar: 9.4 grams
- Magnesium: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Vitamin A: 5% of the DV
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 14% of the DV
4. Improves skin health and promotes hair growth
Watermelon contains loads of Vitamins A and C. These vitamins are essential for healthy skin. Vitamin C is one of the building blocks of the protein -collagen which is responsible for skin and hair cell structure leaving shiny, supple skin and strong hair shafts. Research has established that the consumption or application of vitamin C decreases the risk of early wrinkles, age-related skin damage, and dry skin. Vitamin A also controls the secretion of the sebaceous gland in the face, minimizes the size of pores, and controls the secretion of too much oil. Some studies have shown watermelon to have acne-controlling properties due to the presence of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A and C play a vital role in wound healing and skin cell repairs. Deficiency in vitamin A may lead to poorer and slower wound healing. Watermelon is composed of about 92% water and makes for a healthy face mask leaving the face hydrated, fresh and soft all day. Mix 1 tablespoon of greek yogurt and the same amount of watermelon juice and spread evenly on the face to achieve a watermelon face mask. Leave on for 10 minutes to dry then rinse and use a paper towel to pat dry.
Watermelon is a great source of citrulline- an amino acid that increases the function of arginine and is responsible for hair growth. Citrulline aids blood circulation on the scalp, promoting hair growth and less hair breakage or loss. with time. It also promotes the formation of collagen formation. The oil contained in the seeds of watermelon the hair and leaves it soft. Watermelon shampoos are great for hair and don’t leave the scalp dry but ensure the hair is hydrated and nourished.
5. Protects the skin from sunburn
Plants have some natural pigments like carotenoids synthesized by themselves, bacteria, or some fungi. These pigments absorb light energy from the sun for photosynthesis and as well protect chlorophyll from photodamage. The lycopene and red carotenoids of watermelon can protect the skin from sunburn. There is no study backing this up yet, do not rely totally on watermelon, use sunscreens.
6. Metabolic syndrome
Research published in 2019 indicated watermelon reduces the symptoms of metabolic syndrome-cardiovascular conditions and obesity. Watermelon leaves one feeling full, reduces cravings, and is more satisfying than random unhealthy snacks which obsessed people eat.
The study carried out on 359 people in a period of 4 weeks produced this results:
- Better waist to hip ratio
- Lower body mass index (BMI) and body weight
- Reduced systolic blood pressure
- higher levels of antioxidants in their blood
These results indicate that people with metabolic syndrome or obesity should replace unhealthy snacks with watermelon.
7. Advisable for pregnant women
Heartburn is a frequent health condition during pregnancy, and a prolonged attack of heartburn can lead to the dreaded morning sickness. Morning sickness is caused by a long period of heartburn disturbances. This may be avoided by eating watermelon regularly during the third trimester. Watermelon also helps to ease painful muscles and muscle cramps that might occur during pregnancy.
8. Diuretic properties
Diuretic medicines are used by certain people to assist them to eliminate excess water and salt from their bodies. People with kidney difficulties, high blood pressure, and other diseases may benefit from this.
Watermelon’s diuretic function may be as effective as the well-known diuretic furosemide, according to a 2014 mouse research. This might make it a natural alternative for folks who have a lot of fluid in their bodies. Never discontinue using a prescription diuretic without first seeing your Healthcare Provider.
9. Promotes healthy gums
Looking for a Vitamin C store? Watermelons are your best bet. Vitamin C promotes healthy gums, keeping capillaries healthy and strong. It stops gum infections, kills bacteria, and soothes toothaches. People with Vitamin C deficiency should introduce watermelon into their diet.
10. Prevents macular degeneration
Lycopene found in watermelon serves health benefits to the eyes. A common eye defect that affects older adults- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk is reduced by introducing watermelon into your diet. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may inhibit and prevent. AMD. There is still ongoing research concerning this. However, a study showed that eye cells treated with lycopene showed a remarkable reduction of inflammatory markers that damage cells.
Other listed top health benefits of watermelon includes
- Satisfies sweet Tooth cravings
- Promotes heart health
- Reduces cell inflammation and oxidative stress
- Improves Sexual health
- Relieves muscle soreness
- Improves digestion
However, people with certain health conditions like diabetes must first seek medical advice. There may also be severe allergic reactions to watermelon like hives or inflammation. Excessive intake may also cause intestinal disturbances that can lead to vomiting and severe diarrhea.
There are over 10 top health benefits of watermelon. If you are looking to increase your Watermelon intake, buy the heavy firm, and symmetrical one that is free from soft spots or bruising. You can enjoy watermelon by juicing it, making smoothies, and or including it in salads.
In general watermelons are a great duet inclusion, safe for consumption and offer a lot of health benefits.