Watermelon: Nutrition Facts, Calories, Proven Benefits
Watermelon is a tasty juicy summer fruit that is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients. Consuming watermelon is a great way to lose weight because it is low in sugar, high in fiber, and is about 90% water. Watermelon chunks also have anti-inflammatory properties that help keep your heart healthy, lower blood pressure, and are good for diabetes.
The benefits of eating watermelon are not just confined to its juicy red flesh. Watermelon seeds are also edible and are a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, iron, and healthy fatty acids. There is also evidence that watermelon rind has some health benefits. The edible rind of watermelon contains amino acids that have been linked to improved male sexual health.
In this article, you will learn about the many science based reasons why eating watermelon, watermelon seeds, and even watermelon rind is good for you. You will also find out how scientific research backs up the many health benefits of eating watermelon.
What is Watermelon
Watermelon (botanical name Citrullus lanatus) is a fruit that grows on a vine on the ground. Watermelons come from hot countries in Africa and also grow in Southern Europe, South America, the United States, and the Far East.
Research into this delicious edible fruit has found that watermelon has a rich nutritional profile with many health benefits. Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, B-group vitamins, and an important antioxidant called lycopene.
Every part of the watermelon has proven benefits to your health. Watermelon juice is a good way to re-hydrate after a strenuous workout. Edible watermelon seeds are a good source of fiber, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids. Even the rind of watermelon has benefits for men because of the compound citrulline.
Usually, you can tell if a watermelon is ripe because it should be relatively heavy and have a yellow patch on one part of it. To find out if a watermelon is good and juicy you should knock the thick skin and listen for a hollow sound. This indicates that the delicious fruit is full of juice.
Watermelon is a healthy fruit that has rich nutritional value. The benefits of consuming large servings of watermelon are that they have few calories and are packed with nutrients.
Watermelon is not fattening if you consume it in moderate quantities. 100 g of watermelon only contains 30 calories. According to data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, there are just 45 calories in a one-cup serving of diced watermelon. Even a large serving of watermelon (280 g) only has 84 calories.
Like with other fruits, watermelon contains sugar. Some people wanting to lose weight worry about watermelon’s sugar content. One cup of watermelon (152 g) contains 9.4 g of sugar, most of which is fructose.
However, when compared to other fruits, watermelon still ranks as one of the fruits with the lowest sugar content. For example, gram for gram, 100 g of watermelon has 6 grams less sugar than an apple. So, this makes watermelon one of the best fruits for weight loss.
Although it may seem that watermelon is high in sugar, it is good to remember that watermelon is not fattening because it is low in calories.
A wedge of watermelon (286 g) contains 21 g of carbs. However, watermelon has a low glycemic load and one wedge of red watermelon has a glycemic load of only 6.
100 g of watermelon also contains 0.4 g of fiber, 0.61 g of protein, 1 mg of sodium, and 8.1 mg of vitamin C.
Eating watermelon in the summer is also good for strengthening your immune system, getting healthy-looking skin, and strengthening bones. For example, a large portion of watermelon contains 32 mg of vitamin C which is 40% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). The same amount of watermelon fruit contains 1627 IU of vitamin A which is 33% of your RDI.
Watermelon slices also contain trace amounts of B-group vitamins together with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, and iron. In fact, a wedge of watermelon contains 28.6 mg of magnesium (7% RDI) and 31.5 mg of potassium (9% RDI). So, as well as giving you energy, the minerals in watermelon are good for your cardiovascular and bone health.
Watermelon is not acidic. Watermelon and watermelon juice are alkaline because watermelon has a high pH level.
Watermelon is good for you because it contains lycopene
Research into the nutritional benefits of watermelon has revealed that it also contains a powerful phytochemical called lycopene.
High levels of the antioxidant lycopene in watermelon mean that this fruit has many health benefits. 100 grams of watermelon contains 4532 mcg lycopene which, gram for gram, is 40% more lycopene than is found in tomatoes.
Some of the benefits of lycopene in watermelon include helping to prevent cancer, improve cardiac health, boost skin health, and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Eating watermelon also has many benefits for men. There is some evidence that lycopene benefits male sexual health, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and lowers blood pressure.
The fact that watermelon is a rich source of lycopene and beta-carotene is a great reason to consume watermelon juice whenever you can.
Watermelon also contains the amino acid citrulline
Citrulline is an amino acid that helps to produce the essential amino acid L-arginine. Research has shown that citrulline is found in watermelon rind along with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
This amino acid, citrulline, helps increase the amount of nitric oxide in your blood which relaxes arteries and increases blood flow. There is some evidence that citrulline in watermelon can help lower blood pressure in prehypertension patients.
Due to its excellent nutritional value, watermelon has been called a natural Viagra. Citrulline supplements are sometimes used to resolve mild cases of erectile dysfunction in men.
You could try adding the rind of watermelon to your favorite smoothies to increase their nutritional value and enjoy the benefits of watermelon rind.
Watermelon is packed full of antioxidants
The rich nutritional content of watermelon means that consuming watermelon can help to boost antioxidant levels in your body.
Scientific research has found that nutrients in watermelon such as vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene, and L-citrulline are important to reduce the effects of oxidative stress and boost your immune system.
Why Watermelon Is Good for You: Proven Benefits of Watermelon
Let’s look in more detail at the many reasons to consume more watermelon and add crunchy watermelon seeds to your daily diet.
Watermelon for Weight Loss
Watermelon is a sweet-tasting fruit that is low in calories with virtually no fat and is great if you want to lose weight.
The reason why watermelon is good for losing weight is that its high-water content makes you feel fuller. Watermelon contains around 90% water but is rich in vitamins and nutrients.
Increasing hydration by consuming watermelon can be a tasty way to help you lose weight. The journal Frontiers in Nutrition reported that increasing fluid intake assists with weight loss. Scientists found that hydration boosts metabolism and helps lose weight quicker.
For example, eating 2 large wedges of watermelon will give you the equivalent of drinking 500 ml (16 fl. oz.) of water. This extra-large portion of watermelon only has 170 calories and helps you meet nearly 80% of your daily vitamin C requirements.
Consuming watermelon while on a weight-reducing diet is also good if you have a sweet tooth. A cup of watermelon chunks does contain just over 9 grams of sugar but only 45 calories. This small serving of watermelon only has 0.2 grams of fat, no cholesterol, and just a little bit of fiber.
So, watermelon can support weight loss because it is packed with nutrients but is naturally low in calories.
Watermelon Is Good for Hydration
As already mentioned in this article, watermelon is around 90% water and can help meet your daily hydration needs, especially on hot summer days.
However, it is not just the fluid content of watermelon that makes watermelon juice great for hydration. Watermelon contains electrolytes that are essential in your body’s metabolism.
Watermelon contains electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphate.
Watermelon Fruit is Good to Eat if You Have Diabetes
The low glycemic load and high nutrient content of watermelon mean that moderate amount of it supports good health if you suffer from diabetes.
Researchers have found that watermelon juice is a good source of L-citrulline which can increase the essential amino acid arginine in the body. In laboratory trials, increasing arginine was shown to better manage blood glucose levels and reduce cardiovascular risks in diabetic patients.
Other studies have shown that antioxidant compounds in watermelon juice help to prevent some of the symptoms of diabetes.
If you suffer from diabetes, find out what other healthy foods can help to control your symptoms of diabetes.
Watermelon Promotes Good Heart Health
Regularly consuming watermelon or drinking watermelon juice helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The journal Nutrition reported that L-citrulline in watermelon juice boosts arginine which is essential for good cardiovascular health and a strong 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, scientists noted a significant rise in arginine levels.
Another study involving postmenopausal women found that watermelon supplements helped to reduce arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness is often associated with a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to myocardial infarction (heart attack).
One clinical trial on 80 men found that consuming watermelon juice helped to increase levels of nitric oxide and improve muscle oxygenation during intense physical exercise. Nitric oxide is an important molecule in the body that increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Learn about other delicious foods you can add to your diet to help improve your cardiovascular health.
Watermelon Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Because consuming watermelon is so good for your heart, watermelon also has a positive effect in lowering hypertension.
The reason why watermelon has blood pressure-lowering activity is due to L-citrulline. Researchers have found that taking supplements with L-citrulline can help improve vascular function and may help reduce blood pressure.
Other studies have confirmed that the excellent nutrient content in watermelon is good for lowering blood pressure. One small study involving adults with prehypertension found that watermelon extracts helped to lower blood pressure and improve artery health.
Watermelon Helps Post Exercise Recovery
Taking a large glass of watermelon juice before working out can help your body recover quicker and prevent muscle stiffness.
A study on the beneficial effects of red watermelon juice found that its rich amino acid content helps post-exercise recovery. One 500-ml glass of ordinary watermelon juice contains about 1.7 g of L-citrulline. Athletes who consumed natural watermelon juice before physical activity experienced less muscle soreness 24 hours after training.
Some scientific studies suggest that regularly consuming watermelon puree helps to improve exercise energy demands and prevents oxidative stress after exercising.
Even though drinking a glass of watermelon juice before intense physical activity is beneficial, there is no evidence that watermelon improves physical performance.
Find out more about natural energy boosters that can help you train harder for longer.
Watermelon is an Anti-Inflammatory Food
One of the many reasons why watermelon is good for you is that antioxidants in watermelon help reduce inflammation.
The 2 main components in watermelon that have an anti-inflammatory effect are lycopene and vitamin C.
As already mentioned in this article, watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than tomatoes. Watermelon is also rich in vitamin C. One study found that foods high in lycopene and vitamin C help to reduce the risk of developing inflammatory chronic diseases.
Other studies involving animal subjects have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of watermelon help protect against cardiovascular diseases and lower the effects of inflammation on the body.
Learn more about the beneficial effects of consuming anti-inflammatory foods and how they can reduce symptoms of arthritis and protect against heart disease.
Watermelon May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
One of the benefits of watermelon for men is that compounds in watermelon help to improve male sexual health.
Some people call watermelon nature’s Viagra because its amino acid L-citrulline can help treat erectile problems in men. One study found that taking L-citrulline supplements can benefit men with mild erectile dysfunction. Although not as effective as Viagra, L-citrulline has no side effects.
Learn about other natural foods of boosting your sex drive and why watermelon is rated by many as the #1 aphrodisiac.
Watermelon Compounds Could Prevent Age-Related Eye Problems
Regularly drinking watermelon juice or eating watermelon as often as you can may help to protect your vision in later life.
Red watermelon gets its color from carotenoids that are antioxidants, some of which help protect visual function. Researchers have found that lycopene in watermelon helps protect against macular degeneration and may prevent a decrease in vision.
Find out how juicing watermelon and other fruits can help protect your eyesight and prevent macular degeneration.
Watermelon Extracts Have Anticancer Properties
Scientific research is shedding more light on the protective role that compounds in watermelon may have in cancer prevention.
Researchers have found that foods such as watermelon rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants have a protective effect against many types of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
Consuming lycopene-rich foods such as watermelon benefits men because it has a protective effect on prostate cancer.
Of course, more research needs to be carried out on how foods such as watermelon can be useful in treating cancer. However, there is promising research on the benefits of lycopene in cancer treatment.
Watermelon Seeds are Good For You
Watermelon seeds are edible and are rich in minerals and protein. When eating watermelon or adding watermelon chunks to smoothies, it is important not to forget about the nutritional value of watermelon seeds.
The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reported that watermelon seeds are an important source of dietary protein.
A 1-oz. serving of watermelon seeds contains nearly 8 grams of protein and is high in the essential amino acid arginine.
Watermelon seeds also contain important minerals that are important for bone health, cardiovascular health, and a strong immune system.
For example, a 1-oz. serving of watermelon seeds contains 144 mg of magnesium (26% RDI), 211 mg of phosphorus (21% RDI), 2.9 mg of zinc (19% RDI), and 0.2 mg copper (10% RDI).
It is difficult to eat too much watermelon because you will fairly quickly feel full due to the amount of water in the fruit. For most people, eating watermelon for its many health benefits is safe.
Some people have an allergy to compounds in the watermelon. Symptoms of a watermelon allergy include itchy lips, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat. Many people who are allergic to ragweed also show signs and symptoms of a watermelon allergy.
There is also a condition known as watermelon diarrhea or watermelon poop. This is where a person experiences loose stools after eating large quantities of watermelon. The reason why watermelon may cause diarrhea is due to the high levels of lycopene.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that 2 cups of watermelon chunks can contain around 18 mg of lycopene. Some studies indicate that consuming more than 30 mg lycopene can cause loose stools.
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