Watermelon is a juicy and refreshing fruit that is a favorite summertime treat for many. But did you know that watermelon is not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits? In this article, we will explore the various ways watermelon can contribute to your overall well-being and why it should be a part of your healthy diet.
Nothing indicates summertime better than fresh watermelon being sold in the fruit bazaar on a warm day. Apart from being delicious,
watermelon also has countless health benefits. The best part about these fruits is that everyone can benefit from it equally. Be it heightened recovery from work out sessions or preventing cancer cell growth; there are loads of health benefits that this sweet and juicy fruit provides. However, there are certain doubts about over consuming watermelon. Do watermelons have any negative effects?
7 Health Benefits of Watermelon
1. Hydration and Weight Management:
- Watermelon is composed of about 92% water, making it an excellent choice for staying hydrated, especially during hot summer days.
- Its high water content also contributes to a feeling of fullness, making it a satisfying and low-calorie snack. This can aid in weight management and prevent overeating.
2. Nutrient Powerhouse:
- Watermelon is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It is particularly high in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and promotes collagen production for healthy skin.
- It also contains vitamin A, which is essential for eye health, and vitamin B6, which supports brain function and the production of red blood cells.
3. Antioxidant Protection:
- Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants, including lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. These antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.
- Lycopene, in particular, has been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer and may also help protect against sunburn.
4. Heart Health Benefits:
- The combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in watermelon contributes to heart health. Lycopene, in particular, has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Watermelon is also a good source of citrulline, an amino acid that can help lower blood pressure by promoting the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.
5. Inflammation and Muscle Recovery:
- Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce muscle soreness and aid in post-workout recovery.
- Consuming watermelon or its juice before or after exercise may support muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
6. Digestive Health:
- Watermelon is high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation. It can also help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, supporting overall digestive health.
7. Eye Health
- Watermelon contains beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are essential for good vision and eye health. Regular consumption of watermelon may help protect against age-related macular degeneration and other eye-related issues.
Watermelon Benefits for Skin
Vitamins A, C, E and B6
Watermelon act as an extremely potent antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent your skin from aging too quickly. There are two forms of aging that the human body and skin experiences – chronological and photo-aging. The first is natural and irreversible. Photo-aging is mainly caused due to the body suffering from oxidative stress. When your body is exposed to UV rays, your skin cells get damaged by these volatile UV-A and UV-B atoms. When these skin cells get further exposure to smoke, dirt, and other pollutants, the damage to the skin can be fairly severe. Your skin cells are guaranteed to collagen and elastin, which are essential proteins that make your skin elastic, durable, and radiant. The only way to tackle this loss is by supplementing your body with antioxidants. Red-fleshed watermelons are full of vitamin A which helps in avoiding skin infections and prevents aging of skin cells.
Watermelon is rich in vitamins C and E, which makes it an extremely potent antioxidant. These vitamins penetrate your skin cells easily since they are so lightweight. Consuming a combination of vitamins C and E are far more effective in boosting your skin cell growth as opposed to consuming fruits that only contain one or the other. Hence watermelon extract has always been a valuable constituent of most skincare products. Watermelon extract is also used as a natural moisturizer. It is a critical ingredient in most body lotions because of its anti-oxidative properties. Watermelons are also rich with vitamin B6, which boosts the natural nerve trails of your skin.
Lycopene, Minerals, and Vitamins
Watermelon is a lycopene-rich fruit. Lycopene is a powerful anti-inflammatory carotenoid. Watermelons not only contain lycopene (three times the amount found in tomatoes); these lycopene molecules are also bioavailable, which makes them active players in your body’s anti-inflammatory process. Lycopene is a natural antioxidant that boosts your skin’s vigor in its fighting against harmful UV atoms and pollutants.
Watermelon also contains the mineral potassium. Just two slices of watermelon contain around 640mg of potassium. Potassium helps in preventing nerve triggers and muscle spasms.
Watermelon also contains Amino Acid Citrulline – vital amino acid that facilitates blood circulation in our bodies. When we consume watermelons, our bodies convert the Citrulline into Arginine, which facilitates a lot of our circulatory and immune system functions. Arginine is primarily a scavenger of radical elements present in the body. In addition to all of these nutrients, the high-water content of watermelons also helps in keeping the skin hydrated.
Watermelon for Weight Loss
A common misconception is that watermelons hamper weight loss efforts since it is too sweet, when in fact the opposite is true. Watermelon consumption can help people wanting to lose weight because the calories in this fruit are far lesser than several other food items, including other fruits (per volume).
- Two slices of watermelon contain roundabout 80 calories
- One Pear – 100 calories
- Bananas – 110 calories
- Apples (large-sized) – 130 calories
Plus, the natural sugars present in watermelon help quench the body’s thirst for sugar intake. There are only 30 calories in every 100g of watermelon. The fruit also contains zero saturated fats.
Since watermelons are essentially 92% water and full of natural fibers, they take a long time to digest, giving the consumer a feeling of being full. A few servings are guaranteed to make you not feel hungry again for at least a couple of hours.
Helpful for Recovery
Regular watermelon consumption has been proven to decrease body mass, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. Plus, watermelons serve as the ideal food item for people who participate in intense physical activities. Watermelons help the body heal after strenuous exercises. They are rich with the amino acid Citrulline. As mentioned before, the body converts this amino acid into Arginine, which acts as a relaxant for the blood vessels, improving our blood circulation. Citrulline also enhances vasodilation, which helps people suffering from short breath after heavy workout sessions. Since Watermelons are the only food source containing such massive amounts of Citrulline, the amino acid was actually named after, ‘Citrullus lanatus’, which is the Latin term for watermelons.
Overall, people who are looking to lose or control weight during the summer must definitely include watermelons in their diet as it will naturally help them restrict the intake of other calorie-heavy food items.
Is Watermelon Good For First Trimester Pregnancy?
Watermelons are frequently recommended by doctors to pregnant women during pregnancy. Apart from being a naturally cooling and soothing food item for the stomach, watermelons also help curb digestive problems that pregnant women commonly suffer from, such as acidity and heartburn.
- Dehydration and Morning Sickness – During pregnancy, women are instructed to stay constantly hydrated as extreme dehydration can cause painful contractions. Dehydration can also cause premature birth. 92% of water content helps women remain hydrated during pregnancy. The recommended way of consumption is having a couple of slices or a few cups of watermelon juice (200g) early in the morning. It helps women feel refreshed enough to start the day on a positive note. Plus, the energizing nutrients help in curbing morning sickness, which is quite common amongst pregnant women.
- Edema – The feet and hands of pregnant women often swell up. This condition is known as Edema. The high water content in watermelons helps in reducing vein and muscle blockages, thus preventing Edema.
- Pre Eclampsia – Deep red watermelons contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene. Regular lycopene intake significantly reduces the risk of Pre Eclampsia. Pre Eclampsia or PE is a physical condition that many women suffer from during the fifth-sixth month of pregnancy. This condition is caused due to high blood pressure and excessive presence of protein in their urine. As state above, lycopene facilitates healthy blood circulation. Plus, watermelons contain very little protein. Regular consumption of watermelons during pregnancy builds up the body’s immunity to this disorder.
- Indigestion – The rich fiber content of watermelons enhances stool formation. The high water presence clears the intestinal passageways, generating the required amount of pressure needed for healthy bowel movements.
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – UTI is a painful and uncomfortable medical condition. It is relatively common during pregnancy. It is caused by an accumulation of bacteria in the urinary tract. This condition prevents the body from digesting the vital medicines that women need during pregnancy. These antibacterial properties of watermelons, coupled with its high water content, help cleanse the urinary tract, eradicating any festering bacterial growth.
In addition to all of these benefits, the minerals and vitamins present in these fruits also promote the health of the unborn child.
Negative Effects of Eating Watermelon
Despite all of its health benefits, this fruit does come with its fair share of negatives. Some of them include –
- Increase in Glucose Levels – Watermelons are not recommended for people with diabetes. The glycaemic index of watermelons is 72, which is exceptionally high. Overconsumption can cause blood sugar levels to increase radically. People with diabetes should steer clear from overeating this fruit.
- Liver Inflammation – Regular alcohol drinkers, should avoid excessive watermelon intake as these fruits are abundant with lycopene. This amino acid reacts with alcohol, increasing the chances of liver inflammation. Eating watermelons while drinking is regarded as extremely unsafe as well.
- Water Intoxication – Even though it may sound too bizarre to be accurate, there have been recorded cases where people have suffered from water overdoses. When a human body is filled with excessive amounts of water, it suffers from a loss of sodium. If this unprecedented amount of water is not excreted, it misbalances the blood volume, causing the legs and the arms to swell up. Excessive water can also weaken the kidneys. Immoderate consumption of watermelons is hence extremely unsafe.
- Cardiovascular Imbalance – Even though watermelons’ high lycopene and potassium content make it useful for maintaining circulatory and electrolyte functions, excessive potassium in the body can cause cardiovascular complications such as irregular heartbeat and low pulse rate.
Excessive watermelon consumption has also been linked with diarrhea, stomach pains, and other digestive complications, which will be discussed in this next section.
Can Watermelon Cause a Stomach Pain?
Watermelons, when consumed in moderation, can be a fantastic source of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and of course, water. However, overconsumption imbalances the digestive balance of the body, causing conditions such as diarrhea, stomach bloating, flatulence, and gastric issues. The fruit is rich with a sugar compound called ‘sorbitol.’ Sorbitol is known for loosening up stools. Although this function is typically good for digestion, overeating can cause severe gas issues. Hence, a lot of people complain about stomach aches after eating too much watermelon. Plus, a lot of people may have allergies to lycopene or some other contents of the fruit, which may cause stomach aches.
Although chilled or icy watermelon is exceptionally delicious, especially during the summertime, experts don’t recommend the consumption of iced watermelon. The nutritional qualities of watermelons get severely lowered when it is iced as opposed to when it is stored in room temperatures.
Extensive refrigeration of watermelons facilitates the rapid formation of ice crystals. These ice crystals may seem innocent at first, but they can cause severe toothache, damage to the throat, and other similar adverse reactions. Iced watermelon, when consumed directly, is akin to swallowing ice cubes as watermelons are 92% water. These cold pieces of fruit can severely damage the spleen and block the intestinal tracts, causing stomach aches, loss of appetite, indigestion, and other harmful conditions.
6. Can You Eat Too Much Of It
Despite being an extremely healthy source of water and various forms of nutrients, watermelons belong to the category of “raw food.” Eating an excessive amount of raw food is not recommended so it’s not good to eat too much watermelon. Excessive raw food intake is commonly associated with reduced appetite, reduced gastrointestinal strength (makes you more prone to gas related problems), and frequent indigestion. All of these conditions, when amassed, can cause severe problems such as abdominal distension and bouts of diarrhea.
Moderation Is Key
If you are an occasional consumer of watermelons, you won’t have to worry about these problems. However, if you plan to have watermelons on a regular basis, make sure to consume it in moderation. Also, avoid iced watermelon at all costs. Apart from containing far fewer nutrients, iced watermelons can also give you a sore throat.
If you plan to consume only melons in your effort to lose weight, you will mainly see a loss in your muscle weight. It is imperative to consume other fruits in addition to watermelons to make sure your body doesn’t suffer from a nutrient loss. Watermelons don’t contain any proteins. So, overeating watermelons will not only make you feel full throughout the day, but it will also cause your body to suffer from insufficient protein intake. Whenever you are planning a weight loss diet, it is vital that you mix up your vegetable and fruit items. Consider taking the advice of a nutritionist who will be able to recommend a healthy amount based on your body.
Overeating watermelons can also cause an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. Even though the sugar in watermelons is completely natural, having excessive amounts of sorbitol and another sugar compound in your bloodstream is still extremely unhealthy. If you suffer from conditions such as diabetes or hyperkalemia, don’t eat watermelons without the advice of a doctor.
Like all good things in life, watermelons too need moderate consumption. With the help of this guide, you will be able to fine-tune your watermelon intake in such a way that you can still enjoy its benefits while steering clear of the negatives overeating the fruit.
Conclusion Of Watermelon Benefits
|Hydration||Watermelon is approximately 92% water, helping to keep you hydrated.|
|Nutrient-rich||It is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and A.|
|Antioxidant properties||Watermelon contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells.|
|Heart health||Its citrulline content supports heart health by promoting healthy blood flow.|
|Eye health||Watermelon is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, beneficial for eye health.|
|Weight management||With its high water content and low calorie count, watermelon aids in weight management.|
|Digestive health||The fiber in watermelon promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation.|
|Muscle recovery||Citrulline in watermelon helps reduce muscle soreness and aids in recovery.|
How to pick a good watermelon
Picking a ripe and delicious watermelon is essential to fully enjoy its sweet and juicy flavors. Here are some tips on how to choose a good watermelon:
- Look for a Symmetrical Shape: A good watermelon should have a uniform shape without any bumps or irregularities. Avoid ones that are misshapen or have lumps.
- Check the Field Spot: The field spot is the area where the watermelon rested on the ground. It should have a creamy yellow or orange color, indicating that it is ripe. Avoid watermelons with a white or green field spot.
- Tap and Listen: Gently tap the watermelon with your knuckles. A ripe watermelon will produce a deep, hollow sound, while an unripe one will sound dull. Listen for a resonant, deep sound to ensure ripeness.
- Check the Weight: A ripe watermelon should feel heavy for its size. This indicates that it is full of juicy goodness. Avoid watermelons that feel too light, as they may be dry and lacking in flavor.
- Look for a Uniform Color: A ripe watermelon will have a consistent color all over its surface. Avoid ones with pale or greenish patches, as they may not be fully ripe.
- Check the Skin: The skin of a ripe watermelon should be smooth and firm. Avoid watermelons with soft or bruised areas, as they may be overripe or damaged.
- Smell the Sweetness: Give the watermelon a gentle sniff near the stem end. A ripe watermelon will have a sweet and slightly fruity aroma. If it doesn’t smell like anything or has an unpleasant odor, it may not be fully ripe.
Remember, these tips can help you choose a good watermelon, but personal preference plays a role too. Experiment and discover the perfect watermelon that suits your taste buds. Enjoy the refreshing taste of a perfectly ripe watermelon!
Watermelon is not only a delicious and refreshing fruit but also a nutritional powerhouse. Its high water content, abundance of vitamins and minerals, and impressive array of antioxidants make it an excellent addition to a healthy diet. From promoting hydration and weight management to supporting heart health and digestion, watermelon offers a variety of health benefits. So, the next time you enjoy a slice of watermelon, know that you’re not only satisfying your taste buds but also nourishing your body.