Watermelon: Overview, Nutritional Value, Types, Health Benefits, and Risks

Watermelon

Watermelon is a fruit full of antioxidants and nutrients. It helps keep you hydrated and can improve your health, especially heart health, and prevent some health problems. Watermelon has been enjoyed for centuries. It’s juicy and sweet, making it a great choice to cool down in the summer. Watermelon has a bright red flash with small seeds inside. It’s rich in nutrients and antioxidants like vitamins A and C. For more research you can also visit Healthline.

What is Watermelon?

A watermelon is a big juicy fruit that can be round or oval. It has a tough outer shell that’s green or white, sometimes with stripes or patches of other colors. Inside, the watermelon is pink, yellow, red and very sweet. It also has a lot of seeds. Watermelons grow on veins in Africa. These vines are part of the ground family, which also includes pumpkins and squashes.

What is the Nutritional Value of Watermelon?

Watermelon has many nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. It’s also low in calories. Here’s what you get in 1 cup (152 grams) of diced raw watermelon include:

  • Calories: 46 grams
  • Carbs: 11.5 grams
  • Fiber: 0.6 grams
  • Sugar: 9.4 grams
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin A: 5% of your daily needs
  • Vitamin C: 14% of your daily needs
  • Potassium: 4% of your daily needs
  • Magnesium: 4% of your daily needs

Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid that might improve exercise performance. It has antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, lycopene, and cucurbitacin E, which are good for your health. These antioxidants fight free radicals, unstable molecules that can affect your cells. Over time, this damage can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

What are the Types of Watermelon?

Here are some common types of watermelon. Such as:

  • Allsweet
  • Belmont
  • Black diamond
  • Bush sugar baby
  • Carolina cross
  • Charleston gray
  • Congo
  • Cream of Saskatchewan
  • Crimson sweet
  • Dixie queen
  • Jubilee
  • Moon and stars
  • New queen
  • Orangeglo
  • Sangria
  • Secretariat
  • Sweet Siberian
  • Tiger doll
  • Top gun
  • Yellow petite

What are the Health Benefits of Watermelon?

Here are some potential health benefits of watermelon. Such as:

Help You Stays Hydrated:

Staying hydrated is crucial for your body to work well. Your body uses water to regulate temperature, keep organs functioning, deliver essential nutrients to cells, and stay alert. Foods with lots of water, like watermelon, can help you stay hydrated. Watermelon is mostly water, so it’s a good option to add to your daily water intake. Because it’s mostly water, watermelon has few calories compared to its size. Eating foods like watermelon with low calorie density can help you manage your weight by making you feel full longer.

May Have Anti-Cancer Effects:

Some compounds in watermelon, like lycopene and cucurbitacin E, might help fight cancer. Research results vary, but eating lycopene may lower the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer and colorectal cancers. Lycopene works by reducing levels of a hormone called insulin like growth factor (IGF), which can spur cell division. Uncontrolled cell division can lead to cancer. Cucurbitacin E, another compound in watermelon may help stop tumors from growing by aiding your body in eliminating cancer cells. However, more studies involving people are needed to confirm these benefits.

May Improve Heart Health:

Watermelon offers several nutrients that can promote heart health. Heart disease is a major cause of death globally. Your diet plays a significant role in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes by managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that lycopene, found in watermelon may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which are crucial for cardiovascular health. Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid that may boost nitric oxide levels in your body. This can help blood vessels relax and widen, lowering blood pressure. Additionally, watermelon provides magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C, all of which support heart health and overall well-being.

May Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress:

Inflammation plays a crucial role in many chronic diseases. Watermelon contains antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative damage. An animal study found that rats given watermelon powder alongside an unhealthy diet had lower oxidative stress and levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein compared to a control group. Another study involving 31 people with obesity and high inflammation levels showed that taking 500 mg of vitamins C twice daily for 8 weeks significantly lowered their inflammatory markers compared to those who didn’t take it. Lycopene as an antioxidant, may also potentially slow the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease although more research is needed on this topic.

May Relieves Bone and Joints:

Watermelon might also support your bones and joint health, which is somewhat related to its effects on inflammation in the body. It contains beta-cryptoxanthin, a natural pigment that could protect your joints from inflammation. Some research suggests that reducing inflammation over time might help lower the risk of conditions like osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis, although more studies are needed to confirm these benefits.

May Help Prevent Macular Degeneration:

Lycopene, a compound found in watermelon may offer benefits for your eyes. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that can lead to blindness in older adults. Lycopene acts as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, which could potentially help prevent and slow down AMD. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects in this area. One study that treated eye cells with lycopene found that it reduced the ability of inflammatory markers to damage the cells, suggesting a protective role.

May Relieve Muscle Soreness:

Citrulline, an amino acid found in watermelon, may offer several benefits including improving exercise performance and reducing muscle soreness. It’s also available as a supplement. A review study found that taking citrulline regularly for at least 7 days can enhance aerobic performance. This is because citrulline boosts the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps widen blood vessels. This means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. Additionally, there’s some evidence suggesting that watermelon, itself, not just citrulline, alone may be beneficial for your body after exercise.

May Aid Skin Health:

Vitamin A and C, both present in watermelon, play vital roles in maintaining skin health. Vitamin C, whether consumed through food or applied topically, supports collagen production in the body. Collagen is crucial for keeping skin supple and hair strong. A sufficient intake of vitamin C from diet supplements may reduce the risk of developing wrinkles and dry skin. Vitamin A is also essential for skin health as it helps in the creation and repair of skin cells. It’s important to note that while these nutrients are beneficial more research specifically on watermelon’s effect on skin health is needed to fully understand its impact.

May Relieve Asthma Prevention:

Some experts suggest that free radicals play a role in the development of asthma. Antioxidants in the lungs, such as vitamin C, might help lower risk of asthma. While studies haven’t definitively shown that taking vitamin C supplements can prevent asthma, a diet rich in vitamin C could provide some protection. A 1-cup of watermelon balls weighing about 154 grams provides approximately 12.5 milligrams of vitamin C, which covers between 14% and 16% of a person’s daily vitamin C needs.

May Aid High Blood Pressure:

In a study from 2012, researchers discovered that extract from watermelon lowered ankle blood pressure in middle-aged individuals with obesity and early hypertension. The study suggested that L-citrulline and L-arginine, two antioxidants in watermelon, might improve artery function. Lycopene, another antioxidant found in watermelon, could potentially protect against heart disease. A review in 2017 indicated that lycopene might achieve this by reducing inflammation associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol. Phytosterols are natural compounds in plants that can help manage low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. Some recommendations suggest consuming 2 grams of phytosterols daily. Eating 154 grams of watermelon balls provides a small amount, about 3.08 mg. Lowering LDL cholesterol may help prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the exact impact of phytosterols on CVD is still not fully understood.

May Help Brain and Nervous System:

Choline is another antioxidant found in watermelon. It contributes to several functions and activities:

  • Muscle movement
  • Learning and memory
  • Maintaining the structure of cell membranes
  • Transmission of nerve impulses
  • Early brain development

There is a theory suggesting that choline might help slow down the progression of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease, but more evidence is needed to confirm this

Metabolic Syndrome:

Overweight or obese individuals were given either 2 cups of watermelon or low fat cookies daily for 4 weeks. Those who ate watermelon reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied for longer compared to those who ate cookies. After 4 weeks, the watermelon eaters showed:

  • Higher levels of antioxidants in their blood
  • Lower body weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Improved waist to hip ratio

In contrast, those who ate cookies experienced higher levels of oxidative stress, increased blood pressure, and gained body fat. These findings suggest that watermelon could be a beneficial snack choice for people dealing with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

What are the Diuretic Properties of Watermelon?

Some individuals use diuretic medications to help their body eliminate excess water and salt, which can be beneficial for conditions like kidney problems and high blood pressure. A 2014 study in mice suggested that watermelon’s natural diuretic effect might be comparable to furosemide, a commonly used diuretic medication. This potential makes watermelon a natural option for managing excess fluid. However, it’s crucial to discontinue prescription diuretics without consulting your healthcare provider first. Always seek medical advice before making changes to your medication regimen.

Diet:

When choosing a watermelon, look for one that is firm, heavy, and symmetrical, without soft spots or bruises. To check its quality, tap the outside. A hollow light thud suggests the watermelon inside is intact and well-structured. Here are some servings ideas:

  • Juice: Blend diced watermelon with ice cubes for a cold, electrolyte, rich drink, great for rehydrating after exercise or being in the sun. Salad. Combine watermelon, mint, and fresh mozzarella on a bed of spinach. Drizzle with balsamic dressing for a delicious and healthy salad.
  • Smoothies: Blend watermelon alone or with orange juice for extra flavor. Note that juicing removes fiber, making sugar easier to absorb. People with diabetes should eat whole watermelon instead of drinking juice.
  • Roasted Seeds: Roast watermelon seeds in the oven for 15-20 minutes to create a tasty snack. One ounce (about 28.5 grams) of seeds provides around 8 grams of protein, which is 14-17% of daily protein needs.

What are the Risks of Watermelon?

Moderate consumption of watermelon poses no serious health risk for most people, but certain precautions may be necessary:

  • Diabetes: Watermelon contains natural sugars. People with diabetes should consider these carbs in their daily meal planning. Eating watermelon as a whole fruit is preferable to consuming it as juice, as juicing removes the fiber that slows sugar absorption. This could potentially lead to a rapid rise in glucose levels. It’s important to monitor portion sizes, as with any fruit or juice.
  • Allergies: Some individuals may experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing after eating watermelon. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention promptly, as severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can sometimes occur, posing a life-threatening risk.

FAQs:

What are the five facts about watermelon?

It is packed with vitamins, and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It’s mostly made up of water (92%) with a little bit of sugar (8%). You can find watermelon with or without seeds, and they’re related to vegetables like squash and cucumbers.

Is watermelon good for skin?

Watermelon is like a superfood for your skin. It’s full of vitamins, like A, B, C, that keep your skin healthy. These vitamins act like a team to nourish and protect your skin. They also help your body make more collagen, which is what keeps your skin looking plump and youthful. This can make your skin brighter, even-toned, and feeling refreshed.

Does watermelon burn fat?

It is a great friend for anyone trying to lose weight. It’s mostly water, so it fills you up without adding many calories. This can help you feel less hungry throughout the day. Watermelon has special things inside it that might help your body burn fat and digest food better.

Do we drink water after watermelon?

While some people believe you shouldn’t drink water right after eating it, there isn’t strong scientific evidence to support this. Some people say it’s best to wait an hour to drink water after eating watermelon or other watery fruits like cantaloupe, cucumber, oranges, and strawberries. There isn’t much science to back this up though, so feel free to drink water whenever you feel thirsty.

Is watermelon a superfood?

It can be called a superfood, even though the term itself is more of a marketing tool. Superfoods are supposed to be really good for you, with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all while being low in calories. Watermelon fits the bill because it’s packed with nutrients but has very little calorie punch.

Does watermelon have a lot of sugar?

It has some natural sugar, but not as much as other fruits. A medium-sized slice (about the size of one-sixth of a watermelon) has around 18 grams of sugar. While it is a healthy fruit, people with diabetes or those watching their blood sugar should still be mindful of how much they eat. This is because any kind of sugar can affect blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association says fresh, frozen, or canned fruit without added sugar is a great choice.

Can you eat watermelon at night?

It can be a great pre-bedtime snack for a couple of reasons:

  • Hydration: As you mentioned, it is packed with water (around 92%) which can help you stay hydrated throughout the night. This is especially important during hot weather if you tend to sweat a lot while you sleep.
  • Low in Calories and Sugar: Compared to other snacks, it is low in calories and sugar. This means it won’t weigh you down or cause a blood sugar spike that could disrupt your sleep.   

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