Watermelon is a fruit rich in water, very low in calories and a very healthy food to drink every day.
Watermelon is a fruit native to southern Africa but currently extended to all parts of the world. It is commonly known as watermelon, but in some places it is referred to as “water melon”, “pinilla”, “aguamelón”, “paitilla”… By calories, watermelon is made up of 89% carbohydrates, 7% protein and 4% fat. However, by weight, watermelon is made up of 91% water, which makes the amount of carbohydrates minimal.
As for nutrients, a cup of diced watermelon contains:
- Vitamin C: 21% CDR (recommended daily amount).
- Vitamin A: 17% CDR.
- Small amounts of vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6.
- Small amounts of minerals: potassium, magnesium , manganese, iron, phosphorus …
- Fiber :6 g
- Protein:9 g.
Likewise, watermelon has other plant compounds that act as antioxidants, such as citrulline, lycopene, beta-carotenes…
6 Watermelon Properties:
1. Prevents the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases:
Watermelon consumption can contribute to the prevention of heart disease in several ways. First, it has been shown that eating watermelon reduces tension thanks to its high content of citrulline, a non-essential amino acid that converts to arginine once in the human body and is found mainly in the white part that surrounds the pulp (two). Watermelon is one of the richest sources of citrulline, which is involved in the production of nitric oxide and has antioxidant and vasodilator effects. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that stimulates the dilation and relaxation of blood vessels, which translates into a reduction in blood pressure and, therefore, a lower risk of heart disease Likewise, several studies have revealed that both watermelon juice and watermelon extract supplements reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Secondly, watermelon is very rich in lycopene and, in fact, contains 1.5 times more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene is a natural pigment that provides the watermelon pulp with red color and has various therapeutic properties, while being a precursor to beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is transformed into vitamin A. Several epidemiological studies have confirmed that a high consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in lycopene is associated with a lower risk of heart disease
“In addition, it has been proven that watermelon juice increases the concentration of lycopene and beta-carotene in the human body”.
Finally, its vitamin C content also contributes to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases: a low level of vitamin C is 2.4 times more risk of heart attack, mainly in people with high blood pressure and obesity.
2. Decrease Inflammation:
Inflammation can become a serious health problem and a risk factor for various diseases if left untreated and persists for a long time, thus becoming chronic inflammation. But do not spread panic… Being an excellent source of lycopene, watermelon can help you fight inflammation. As I mentioned in the previous point, lycopene is responsible for the red color of the watermelon pulp and has numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. Likewise, in a large study conducted with more than 13,000 people, it was observed that an elevated intake of arginine (from the transformation of citrulline present in watermelon) lowers the level of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker that increases the risk of heart disease.
3. Reduces the Risk of Eye Diseases:
According to data from the World Health Organization, vitamin A deficiency is one of the main responsible for blindness that attacks many children living in developing areas. How does watermelon contribute to preventing this deficit and its consequences? Watermelon contains a significant amount of vitamin A and provitamins A such as beta-carotene and beta-crytoxanthin, substances related to a lower risk of developing eye diseases. Similarly, eating watermelon regularly helps you keep your eyesight in perfect condition thanks to lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances also present in this fruit and with protective properties against cataracts and macular degeneration.
4. Relieves Muscle Pain:
At the end of a workout or physical activity it is normal to feel some muscle pain. According to some studies, half a liter of watermelon juice can reduce the pain that appears in some muscles after exercise, as well as the recovery heart rate, after 24 hours. There are also indications of the positive effects of watermelon juice or citrulline on physical performance, but further research is required.
5. Protects Against Cancer:
The high content of lycopene present in watermelon prevents and reduces the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, one of the main causes of cancer. According to numerous studies, lycopene can prevent cancer that affects different organs and can slow the growth of tumors. But that is not all… Watermelon contains two other compounds that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer:
- The antioxidant beta-carotene protects against prostate cancer.
- The vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, protects cells from free radicals, reduces inflammation and reduces the risk of various cancers: esophagus, stomach, pancreas….
6. It is Very Moisturizing:
Watermelon contains 91% water and this means that its consumption can be useful both to prevent and to treat dehydration. You already know that you can also quench your thirst and cover the dose of water your body requires with foods rich in this liquid, and not just by drinking water. That is why this fruit can become your best friend in periods of very hot weather, since it not only gives you water but a delicious flavor and freshness.
Does Watermelon Have Any Negative Health Effects?
Generally, the consumption of watermelon is safe and this tends to be well tolerated by most people who consume it. However, this has a high amount of FODMAP carbohydrates, which can cause quite annoying digestive problems: abdominal bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, cramps… If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or other inflammatory bowel disease, avoid this intake as much as possible. Finally, this fruit can also cause oral allergy syndrome in a minority of people, an allergic reaction that occurs when certain foods are consumed and usually occurs in people with pollen allergy. Some symptoms of this allergy are itchy throat and mouth, tingling, swelling of the tongue, lips, throat…
Watermelon is a perfect food to keep you hydrated and healthy at the same time. Its regular consumption protects you against cancer, heart disease and vision and can be your best ally after physical exercise.