Big, juicy slices of watermelon are the quintessential summer snack ! Not only is it mouth watering delicious, it is also very good for our health.
The health benefits of watermelon are numerous and include the prevention of kidney disorders, high blood pressure, the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, heat stroke, macular degeneration and impotence.
Nutritional Facts of Watermelons
Watermelons have 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.
Health Benefits of Watermelons
1. It Soothes Sore Muscles.
In a study published in Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes' heart rate and next-day muscle soreness. That's because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.
2. It Helps Heart Health.
According to studies published by Florida State University physiologist Arturo Figuero, postmenopausal women experienced improved cardiovascular health after six weeks of taking commercially available watermelon extract supplements containing citrulline and arginine.
Such supplements also help alleviate high blood pressure in obese and middle-aged adults.
3. It Could Be a Natural Viagra.
Arginine relaxes blood vessels, according to 2008 research from Texas A&M University’s department of horticultural sciences. Although not as organ-specific as drugs that treat men’s erectile dysfunction, watermelon may help improve blood flow to erectile tissue (present in the female clitoral area as well as the male penis), increasing arousal.
4. Cancer Preventative.
Watermelon is among the best dietary sources of lycopene. Scientific studies show that lycopene helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. There is also some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix could be reduced with increased lycopene intake. All in all, between the antioxidant potential of vitamin C and the impact of lycopene, watermelon is a great anti-cancer fruit!
5. Kidney Cleanse.
One of the primary health benefits of watermelon is that it improves the function of the kidneys and it has a history of use for the treatment of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. This is not only due to its very high percentage of water but also because watermelon is a mild diuretic (promotes urine flow). Another good reason to do a watermelon fast on the weekend is because you will need very frequent trips to the bathroom!
Watermelon fasts help cleanse your kidneys and the rest of your system as well. Regular consumption of watermelon can help keep kidney stones away. Warning ! Do not do a watermelon fast if you are diabetic or if you suffer from any sort of kidney disease.
6. Prevents Heat Stroke.
Watermelon is effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure. Many people in tropical regions eat this fruit every day in the afternoon during the summer to protect themselves from heat stroke. The high amount of water contained in watermelon also stimulates a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.
7. Macular Degeneration.
No need to worry about your eye health and macular degeneration if you eat plenty of watermelon, because between the beta carotene, vitamin-C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, your eyes are well protected. These antioxidants will ensure protection of your eyes from age-related blindness and degeneration and other age-related ailments such as drying up of the eyes and optical nerves, as well as glaucoma.
8. Chew the Seeds !
Watermelon seeds are especially packed with nutrients including fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Interestingly enough, 100 grams of watermelon seeds provides around 139%, 87%, 82%, 74%, 44%, 20% and 37% of daily dietary values of these minerals respectively. Watermelon seeds are also good source of dietary fibers which are essential for healthy bowel movements and digestion.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !