- Protect Against Heart Disease
- Skin Health
- Weight Control
- Protection Against Cancer
- Supports Immune System
- Eye Health
- Athletic Performance
Watermelon may protect against heart disease
There’s nothing like taking a bite of a piece of cool, sweet watermelon on a hot summer day. Besides being delicious and a way to beat the heat, eating watermelon offers lots of health benefits that you may not know about. Learn about watermelon's numerous benefits and why it should be on your menu all summer long.
Watermelon is a great source of lycopene, more than any other fruit or vegetable. This is a carotenoid that gives fruits like watermelon and tomatoes their red color. An antioxidant, lycopene is a natural disease fighter.
Lycopene plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Studies show that eating watermelon improves blood flow by relaxing blood pressure, which then improves overall cardiovascular function. Another reason why watermelon is healthy for your heart is that it helps to raise the synthesis of nitric oxide. This is a gas that dilates blood vessels and works to prevent any blockages.
It keeps you hydrated
Watermelon is 92% water. One of the best watermelon health benefits is that it provides you with a delicious way to stay hydrated. Getting enough water and staying hydrated is a vital part of your overall health. Water plays lots of different roles, like flushing out waste and carrying oxygen to your cells.
It’s especially important to stay hydrated in the summer, when temperatures are high and you lose water quickly through sweating. Eating watermelon is a tasty and nutritious way to replenish fluids and enjoy a sweet snack that can help keep you cool.
It’s full of antioxidants
Watermelon is packed with antioxidants that can help your body fight off free radicals. These antioxidants also help slow down damage to your cells. As mentioned above, watermelon is a great source of lycopene, which offers lots of antioxidant protection. Paired with another antioxidant, cucurbitacin E, it can fight off inflammation and oxidative stress.
Other antioxidants in watermelon are vitamin C and beta-carotene. Eating 2 cups of watermelon gives you a third of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Beta-carotene is a pigment that your body converts to vitamin A.
Watermelon is good for your skin
Those same antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, help keep your skin healthy. Vitamin A stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which keep both your skin and your hair moisturized. Without enough vitamin A to repair your skin cells, your skin can start to look dry and flaky.
Antioxidants, like vitamins and lycopene, can also help slow down signs of aging caused by UV damage, in addition to reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
It can help you with weight control
If you’re looking to lose a little weight or just want to control weight gain, watermelon could be a good tool to help you slim down. Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which has been proven to reduce the buildup of fat in your body’s fat cells. Research is still being conducted, but studies show that citrulline plays an important role in maintaining normal cardio-metabolic health. Researchers are continuing to explore if there are any specific dietary guidelines for eating watermelon to get the maximum health benefits from citrulline.
Eating watermelon provides your body both water and fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer. Together, these nutrients may prevent eating too much, which can cause weight gain. In a study of 33 obese adults, researchers found that eating 2 cups of watermelon each day for a month led to weight loss and a lower body mass index (BMI).
It may protect against some cancers
One important health benefit of watermelon is that it may help protect you against certain cancers called aerodigestive cancers. These include:
- Oral cavity (mouth) cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Pharynx cancer
- Esophageal cancer
So far, research is still in the early stages when it comes to watermelon and cancer prevention. Tests on animals using watermelon extracts in different forms have been positive, so researchers are still developing a daily intake plan when it comes to watermelon.
It supports your immune system
Watermelon packs tons of vitamin C, which helps support and maintain your immune system. Your immune system helps keep you healthy and fight off infections and illnesses. The high amount of vitamin C in watermelon also helps with other important bodily functions like healing wounds. Vitamin C is an essential part of forming new connective tissues and the enzymes that produce collagen.
Watermelon can help maintain eye health
Watermelon is a natural source of beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for maintaining eye health. One cup of watermelon contains about 0.26 milligrams of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps create pigments in your retinas that protect against macular degeneration caused by aging as well as night blindness.
It may help with digestion
Watermelon contains lots of water and fiber. Both of these are important to maintain healthy digestion. Fiber helps to keep your bowel movements regular by increasing the bulk in your digestive tract. Water moves the food in your digestive tract along so that your body can absorb all the nutrients.
Research is still going on, but some health professionals believe that watermelon could be helpful in treating ulcerative colitis (UC). This is an inflammatory bowel disease that happens when your digestive tract gets inflamed. People with UC may be at higher risk for certain conditions, including colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
Watermelon may improve athletic performance
If you’re an athlete, watermelon may help improve your performance. Studies show that drinking a serving of watermelon juice before a workout helps lower the chances of muscle soreness the next day, in addition to improving your heart rate. This goes back to citrulline, along with another amino acid called arginine. Another study showed that athletes who took citrulline supplements were able to perform better in high-intensity sports like sprinting and cycling.
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ACTUAL FruVeg: "Watermelon - Health Benefits & Risks."
Food Revolution Network: "Is Watermelon Healthy?"
Grey Bears: "8 Health Benefits of Watermelon."
Mayo Clinic Health System: "The wonders of watermelon."
StudyFinds: "Watermelon offers widespread health benefits, study confirms."
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: "Surprising Health Benefits of Watermelon."
USDA Agricultural Research Service: "Numerous Health Benefits Found in Summer-Favorite Watermelon."
Watermelon.org: "Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Watermelon."
The World's Healthiest Foods: "Watermelon."
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