From being an addition to salads to being a meat substitute (yes, it’s a thing to serve seared watermelon 'steak'), watermelon is a summer favourite. Oh, and watermelon is super healthy! Let's take a look at the nutritional benefits of watermelon.
What are the biggest health benefits of eating watermelon
Bone health and cardiovascular health
Watermelon is an especially good source of lycopene, which makes it an excellent source of antioxidants for cardiovascular and bone health. The consumption of watermelon is associated with improved cardiovascular function, because the consumption of this fruit elevates blood flow via vasodilation (relaxation of blood pressure). Additionally, with its potassium content, it helps your body retain calcium, making your bones and joints stronger.
Watermelons are a wonderful source of beta-carotene (which gives it that rich, red colour) that is transformed into Vitamin A by the human body. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in the production of pigments within the retina, and also protects against age-related degeneration and night blindness. Vitamin A is also essential for the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth, bones, mucus membranes and gums.
Full-ripe watermelons produce an alkaline effect in the body. It is important to eat plenty of alkaline foods like fresh, ripe fruit and vegetables in order to reduce the chances of diseases that are caused by a high-acid diet (specifically meat, eggs and dairy products).
Support for anti-inflammatory and antioxidative functions
The compounds found in watermelon are responsible for reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. Choose ripe watermelons, because they contain higher concentrations of these compounds which are beneficial for your health.
Nerve and muscle support
Watermelon is rich in potassium and is a natural electrolyte that helps normalise nerve and muscle function. A lot of our body's functions are controlled by potassium, from the rate at which our muscles will contract to the extent at which nerves will be stimulated.
Watermelon contains citrulline, the essential amino acid, that has been shown to play a significant role in reducing fat accumulation in our cells. Citrulline is an amino acid that (through a series of steps) inhibits the creation of fat in our body. This in turn keeps the body from accumulating excessive amounts of fat.
Kidney and diuretic support
As a natural diuretic, watermelon helps to enhance the flow of urine, without straining the kidneys (unlike so many other diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol).
Watermelon helps the kidneys by removing excess fluids from the body while facilitating the processing of ammonia (the waste from protein digestion).
Promotes wound healing, immune support, and prevents cell damage
Watermelon is a rich source of Vitamin C. This boosts the immune system, heals wounds and can help form new connective tissue, as has been demonstrated by numerous studies. Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen, which helps to heal wounds.
The Benefits of Watermelon Seeds
Having roasted watermelon seeds as a snack can have some amazing benefits for your skin. Moreover, it prevents acne outbreaks, reduces dullness, moisturises your skin and maintains its youthful appearance. Consuming these seeds regularly can help maintain the elasticity of the skin. This is one of the main reasons why you should consume watermelon seeds regularly.
There are many nutrients that are required for healthy hair such as protein, iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc. A regular dose of these will greatly improve the health and appearance of your hair, especially if you are experiencing hair thinning and hair loss. Magnesium protects hair from split ends and breakage while protein increases hair growth. Melanin is responsible for keeping your hair healthy and vibrant while copper increases melanin production.
Healthy watermelon-based Recipes
Corn, Watermelon, and Cucumber Salsa
Diced watermelon - 2 ½ cups
Finely diced cucumber - ¾ cup
1 ear of corn with kernels removed
Finely chopped red onion - 5 tablespoons
Finely chopped jalapeno pepper - ½ cup
Chopped cilantro - 3 tablespoons
Fresh lime juice - 3 tablespoons
Kosher salt - ½ teaspoon
In a mixing bowl, combine watermelon, corn kernels, cucumber, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and lime juice. Mix them well. Cover the salad and refrigerate. Serve cold.
2. Watermelon and goat cheese salad with citrus vinaigrette
Watercress with tough stems removed, or mixed salad greens - 8 cups
Diced seedless watermelon (including the rind) - 4 cups
Orange juice - 3 tablespoons
Toasted hazelnuts - ½ cup
Red onion, thinly sliced - ¼ cup
Crumbled goat cheese - 2 ounces
Extra-virgin olive oil - 3 tablespoons
Red wine vinegar - 1 tablespoon
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Freshly ground pepper - for taste
In a large bowl, combine salt, pepper, oil, orange juice and vinegar and mix. Add the watercress, watermelon and red onion; toss to coat well. Divide the salad amongst serving plates. Serve with goat cheese and hazelnuts as a topping.
Watermelon Health Benefits FAQs
What happens if I eat watermelon everyday?
If you consume watermelon daily, your body may get excessive potassium or lycopene. If you consume more than 30 mg of lycopene daily, there is a chance of indigestion and diarrhoea.
When should you not eat watermelon?
You should avoid consuming watermelon right before bedtime. Watermelon or any fruit should not be consumed after 7 p.m. Due to the acidity of the fruit, it may slow digestion.
Does watermelon reduce belly fat?
Watermelon is a hydrating fruit, rich in lycopene, which contributes to your body's arginine levels. This in turn improves your body's fat-burning abilities. The fruit aids in the burning of fat, which in turn leads to the growth of lean muscle. Just one cup a day is sufficient.