This juicy fruit that we so lovingly devour in summers contains nutrients. It is rich in potassium and vitamins A, C, and B. But what makes the watermelon fruit a must-have is lycopene, the antioxidant that renders the fruit its deep red color.
Numerous studies have supported the beneficial effects of lycopene. The antioxidant is known to reduce the risk of stroke and also lower the blood pressure levels.
It may not have as much fiber as other fruits, but watermelon calories content and fat content is low and contains a lot of water. This was about the importance of watermelon fruit, now have a look at watermelon nutritional benefits.
1. Watermelon has a high water content that help you hydrate
Drinking water is an important way to keep your body hydrated.
However, eating foods that have a high water content can also help. Interestingly, watermelon is 92% water.
What’s more, a high water content is one of the reasons why fruits and vegetables help you feel full.
The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.
2. Contains Nutrients and Beneficial Plant Compounds
As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup (154 grams). That’s lower than even low-sugar fruits such as berries.
One cup (154 grams) of watermelon has many other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI
Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.
Here’s an overview of watermelon’s most important antioxidants:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals.
Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.
Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.
3. Watermelon aid digestion
While watermelon isn’t very high in fiber, that supports healthy gut function. The fruit also contains fluid and prebiotics, a type of fiber that stimulates the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. Prebiotics are tied to healthy immune function, anti-inflammation, and positive mood. Prebiotics also boost mineral absorption, improve blood glucose and insulin levels, and may protect against colon cancer.
4. Watermelon helps lower blood pressure and improve circulation
L-citrulline, a natural substance in watermelon (particularly in the white part of the rind), has been shown to improve artery function and lower blood pressure by helping blood vessels relax, which opens up circulation.
L-citrulline’s impact on blood flow is also the reason watermelon has been deemed “nature’s Viagra.” (Viagra eases erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow in the penis.) Research also shows that L-citrulline may improve muscle oxygenation and athletic performance during endurance exercise.
5. It reduces muscle soreness
In one study, athletes who consumed 16 ounces of watermelon juice an hour before exercise experienced reduced muscle soreness and a quicker heart rate recovery compared to those who received a placebo drink.
Another study in male runners found that those who drank 16 ounces of watermelon juice enriched in L-citrulline two hours before performing half-marathon races had less perceived muscle soreness for up to 72 hours compared to those who downed a placebo beverage.
6. Gives healthy weight management
Watermelon may help support healthy weight management when it’s consumed in place of a processed sweet snack.
During the study, one group was asked to consume two cups of fresh watermelon daily, while a second group ate low-fat cookies that had the same number of calories as the watermelon. Participants were allowed to consume their respective snacks any time of day, during one or multiple sittings, or either alone or in combination with other foods.
Researchers found that watermelon promoted greater satiety than the cookies, and that satiety (diminished hunger, greater fullness, and a reduced desire to eat) lasted up to 90 minutes after eating. Additionally, the watermelon eaters lost weight, reduced their waist-to-hip ratios and blood pressure levels, and improved their antioxidant status and blood lipids.
7. Helps Treat Inflammation
Another primary compound found in watermelons is lycopene, which has great benefits. In one American study, lycopene was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
Amongst the different carotenoids, lycopene is considered the best . In fact, the beneficial effects of lycopene for inflammation are considered even better than beta-carotene, an important carotenoid .
8. Prevents Asthma
Hail lycopene, again! Being one of the key antioxidants, lycopene helps with the body’s reaction to cold and flu. And what’s more interesting is this antioxidant has been found to reduce asthma flare-ups in children.
Watermelon also allows people who have asthma to breathe properly, without them having to take each breath in panic . A study conducted on 17 asthmatic adults showed that lycopene might have a therapeutic effect on the disease.
As per a report, adequate intake of lycopene and vitamin A could be beneficial for asthmatic patients.