Perhaps nothing else screams summertime quite as much as a juicy, ripe watermelon. It’s sweet and refreshing and adds a huge burst of colour to just about everything.
But there is so much more to watermelon than meets the eye. Watermelon is simply bursting with numerous health benefits, too.
July is National Watermelon Month and it’s no surprise why. Besides being tasty and super hydrating, watermelon is super healthy. Check out our list of 13 healthy benefits, and interesting facts, you never knew about this summertime treat.
1. Immune support, wound healing, and helps prevent cell damage
Watermelons are surprisingly high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is great at improving your immune system by protecting our cells from reactive oxygen. Reactive oxygen damages our cells and DNA. Vitamin C has long been known to help heal wounds in the body and is essential to making new connective tissue. Enzymes involved in forming collagen, the main compound needed when wounds are healing, simply cannot function without Vitamin C. If you should find you are suffering from slow healing wounds, seriously up your consumption of vitamin C heavy fruit such as watermelon!
2. Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes
Just one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times more lycopene than a large fresh tomato. Why should you care? Lycopene is a super antioxidant, which is important for stopping those free radicals that damage your cells, mess with your immune system, and lead to advanced aging. Research shows that lycopene, which is found in most red fruits and veggies, helps fight against several types of cancer. To get the most antioxidants possible, store your watermelon at room temperature.
3. Relieves Sore Muscles
A study conducted in Spain discovered that drinking about 16 ounces of watermelon juice before working out had less muscle soreness, as well as a lower heart rate, within 24 hours. This study was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
This is attributed to a compound in watermelon called citrulline that has been found to improve the functioning of arteries and lower blood pressure overall. In fact, watermelon can relax the blood vessels so much; Texas A&M University says that watermelon is like the Viagra of the fruit world! Unfortunately, most of that citrulline is found in the green rind, not so much in the red flesh.
4. Supports eye health
Watermelon is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which your body will turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to make the pigments in the retina of your eyes and this helps to protect you against macular degeneration.
When fully ripe, watermelons have an alkaline effect in the body. Eating plenty of alkaline forming fruits and veggies helps to reduce your risk of developing illness and chronic disease.
6. It’s both a fruit and a veggie
Almost unbelievable, but true! Like almost all fruits, watermelon comes from seeds but its roots can be traced to pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. Talk about an overachiever!
7. It’s absolutely packed with, well, water
Of course! You are really talking about some serious hydration when you start talking watermelon! It’s 91.5 percent water! This is good to know since being dehydrated is really bad for your health. It’s a good thing we eat these when we are under the hot summer sun so we can keep ourselves hydrated.
8. Reduces body fat
We are talking about that wonderful compound citrulline again. It’s been shown in studies to help our body’s stop the accumulation of fat. This amino acid, with a little help from our kidneys, converts into arginine, which blocks the activity of TNAP, which makes our fat cells, accumulate less fat. Kinda complicated, but a beautiful thing all the same.
Watermelons are high in phenolic compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. Carotenoids are super helpful in reducing inflammation and killing off those nasty free radicals. Tripterpenoid curcurbitacin E is another great compound in watermelons, which is another great anti-inflammatory. Be sure to eat really ripe watermelons as they have much higher levels of these helpful compounds.
10. Diuretic and kidney support
A natural diuretic, watermelon can help increase the flow of urine but doesn’t place a strain on the kidneys the same way caffeine does. Also, watermelons help your liver process ammonia which will help you get rid of excess fluid in the body while making it easy on the kidneys.
11. Nerve and muscle support
Watermelon is a great, all natural electrolyte that helps to regulate the nerves and muscles. Potassium is important in the determination of how much our muscles contract and controls the over stimulation of the nerves in the body. Since watermelon is high in potassium, it’s super good for those nerves and muscles.
12. Supports cardiovascular and bone health
Those high lycopene levels that are in watermelon are important to both our bone health and cardiovascular health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has been linked to improved cardiovascular function as it improves blood flow due to the relaxation of blood pressure as well as reducing the oxidative stress which is involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. This means you will get stronger bones when you eat foods rich in lycopene, such as watermelons.
13. About those yellow watermelons
If you haven’t seen them, there are watermelons that are not that beautiful pinkish-red red colour. It’s called Yellow Crimson. It has a yellow interior with a sweeter taste that will remind you of honey. Both types of watermelons are green on the outside so unless they are labeled, you can’t tell which one is which! Just remember that no one knows what, if any, nutritional value the yellow kind might have to offer. If you love the yellow kind, mix up a batch of both colours, just to be on the safe side.