Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually considered a nutrient dense food, a food that provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a low amount of calories.
Watermelons have become synonymous with summer and picnics, and for good reason. Their refreshing quality and sweet taste help to combat the heat and also provide a guilt-free, low maintenance dessert for kids and adults alike to enjoy.
It contains only 46 calories per cup but is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and many healthy plant compounds.
Along with cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. There are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini (also known as personal), yellow and orange.
Watermelon has a vast medicinal benefit that is highly dependent on the variety of the watermelon and ripeness, (1). Beta carotene and lycopene are usually bio-available in the highest quantities once the watermelon is completely ripe.
Possible health benefits of watermelon
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like watermelon decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease, heat stroke, macular degeneration, impotency and also promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
The long list of healthy or beneficial effects of watermelons is mainly derived from its unique nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds.
These include significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a very large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.
These components of watermelons contribute to its major impact on health.
1. Watermelon May Improve Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide (2).
Lypocene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon, improves cardiac functions (3).
Studies suggest that lycopene may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also help prevent oxidative damage to cholesterol (3).
Beta carotene, known for its remarkable antioxidant and anti-aging properties, helps prevents age-related cardiac problems.
The roughage in watermelon and its very low energy, along with help from vitamin-C, carotenoids and potassium (potassium cuts the risk of a heart attack), helps to reduce cholesterol and keep your heart safe from a variety of dangerous conditions.
It is also known that watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that may increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide helps your blood vessels expand, which lowers blood pressure (4).
2. Watermelon May Prevent Macular Degeneration
Found in several parts of the eye, lycopene helps protect against oxidative damage and inflammation.
It may also help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a common eye problem that can cause blindness in older adults (5).
These antioxidants will protect your eyes from other age-related ailments such as drying up of eyes and optical nerves, as well as glaucoma.