Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that was referred to as the food of the angels by Mark Twain. It can be your go-to guilt-free dessert and whether you want to enjoy a picnic during summers or need to revitalize your senses after a tiring workout, this fruit can help you revive your body and strengthen immunity. It is packed with essential nutrients like Vitamin A, C, Phosphorus, Magnesium and other nutrients Antioxidant levels are said to increase in a fully ripe and juicy watermelon according to a research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
Below you can learn some amazing facts and benefits of watermelons as well as learn how to pick a ripe watermelon.
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Interesting Facts About Watermelon
Watermelon originated in northeast Africa and its cultivation dates back to the Nile Valley around 2nd millennium BC. Seedless watermelons were developed in 1939 by Japanese scientists but you might be surprised to know that the seeds too, are packed with nutrients and are healthy for consumption. If the seeds are edible, is the rind too? Fact is, that Watermelon rind can also be eaten after cooking! It contains blood building chlorophyll and amino acids that promote good health.
Benefits and Uses of Watermelon
1. Works as Viagra
Watermelons are filled with Citrulline which is further converted into the amino acid arginine by the body. This conversion increases the nitric oxide levels in the body, relaxing and dilating the blood vessels. A study done at Texas A&M University shows that this relaxing effect is similar to the reaction caused by Viagra. Therefore, eating a good amount of this fruit might be a natural way to enhance libido.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure
Watermelon or watermelon juice contains lycopene and for those suffering from prehypertension, consuming watermelon or watermelon juice may help lower blood pressure. A study conducted by Florida State University indicates that watermelon also improves arterial health and its function because of arginine which is produced with the conversion of citrulline.
3. Might prevent certain Cancers
A fully ripe watermelon contains an increased amount of lycopene which has varied benefits on the body. Not only is it linked with heart and bone health, it is also helpful in preventing certain types of cancers like that of the prostate according to the National Cancer Institute.
4. Improves Digestion
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD and a leading nutrition editor says that dietary fibre and water content in watermelons are great for digestive health. This dietary fibre helps in improving bowel movements thus, taking care of your digestive system.
5. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body and another study published in the US National Library of Medicine concludes that lycopene, citrulline, Vitamin C and other important compounds help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
6. Works wonders for Skin and Hair
Watermelon contains Vitamin A which produces sebum and keeps the hair moisturized. It is also responsible for the growth of all body tissues. Watermelon contains Vitamin C as well which provides hydration and maintains collagen thereby making the skin soft, smooth and supple. A mask made of watermelon juice with honey removes tan. Yoghurt and lemon juice can also be used to get glowing skin.
7. Keeps you Hydrated
Most of the times, we go through the day without drinking enough water. Although we might not necessarily be thirsty, a state of mild dehydration might cause headaches, fatigue and constipation as stated by a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. With high amount of water content in watermelon, it is a treat for perfect hydration. If you do not want to eat the fruit, try consuming watermelon juice infused with a few mint leaves.
8. Keeps your Eyes Healthy
Thinning of the macular layer can lead to various eye related diseases. Having watermelons which are rich in lycopene, Vitamin A and other essential nutrients help in restoring eye heath and reducing the risk of macular degeneration as mentioned in EXCLI Journal.
9. Reduces Muscle Soreness and Improves Athletic Performance
Drinking watermelon juice can be quite soothing after a tiring workout according to a Spanish study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It was also concluded that athletes who consumed a little more than 16 ounces an hour before exercise had much less muscle soreness. The presence of Citrulline also improves performance and endurance.
10. Reduces the risk of Asthma Attacks
Newer researches claim that higher levels of Vitamin C indicate a reduction in asthma symptoms. As watermelons are filled with Vitamin C, its consumption might help you avoid the risk of asthma. Lycopene content in watermelons also reduce pathophysiological features of asthma as mentioned in a study published in the US National Library of Medicine.
Also Read: Benefits Of Pears | Benefits Of Pineapple
Nutritional Value of Watermelon
Now that you know how beneficial this fruit can be, here’s a look at its nutritional values. Nutrition Data lists these values for 154g of Watermelon
|Total Carbohydrate||11.6 g|
|Dietary Fibre||0.6 g|
|Total Fat||0.2 g|
|Vitamin A||876 IU (International Unit)|
|Vitamin C||12.5 mg|
- A good amount of Vitamin C present in Watermelons reduces the effect of free radicals that harm the body. Vitamin C also builds and maintains collagen which provides structure to skin and hair. It also keeps the body hydrated.
- Vitamin A produces sebum which keeps the hair moisturized. It is also beneficial in the growth of body tissues.
- Being a rich source of potassium, it helps maintain water balance in every cell of the body. People with lower potassium levels often experience muscle cramps.
- Lycopene, an anti-oxidant that gives watermelon its red colour, promotes heart health.
Also Read: Muskmelon calories
Risks or Precautions when consuming Watermelons
- Having watermelons in excess can rise the levels of Vitamin C which may cause diarrhoea or gastrointestinal discomfort.
- If you are a diabetic, having too much of this fruit might increase the levels of glucose in your body.
- Eating it in excess may cause over hydration as the fruit is 90% water. Excess water leads to loss of sodium content in the body which might lead to swelling in the legs, exhaustion and weak kidneys.
- With high levels of potassium, an excess consumption of the fruit might lead to an irregular heartbeat.
How to consume a Watermelon
The thought of a beautiful summer day resonates perfectly with a ripe and delicious watermelon. Here’s how you can pick up a ripe watermelon and enjoy a pleasant sunny day out.
- Pick it up. Whatever the size of the watermelon, it should feel heavy for its size due to a large amount of water present in it.
- Look for a firm and symmetrical watermelon and find the yellow spot. The part which rests of the ground develops a splotch which turns creamy yellow if the watermelon is ripe.
- Tap the underbelly of the watermelon. A deep, hollow sound will ensure that the watermelon is ripe.
Now, if you’re wondering of different ways to consume this fruit, here are a few things you can try. Watermelon salads, cocktails, sorbets, popsicles and pies taste just as mouth-watering as the fruit itself.
1. Watermelon Lemonade
Add 3 cups of watermelon cubes and ½ a cup of raspberries in a blender. Discard the pulp and pour it in a glass. Now add ¾ cup sugar in ½ a cup of water in a saucepan. Stir it till sugar dissolves and leave it aside to cool. Then combine the sugar syrup and watermelon-raspberry blend and freeze until firm. Scoop them in in tall glasses and pour some strawberry flavoured water in it. Serve chilled.
This delicious blend not only quenches your thirst but is filled with the goodness of watermelon, raspberries and strawberries. It is filled with antioxidants that does wonders for your skin.
2. Watermelon Feta salad
Whisk some olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and salt in a bowl. Add arugula, spinach, onion, tomatoes, feta cheese and watermelon. Drizzle herbs and spices for added flavour.
3. Watermelon Salsa
Make a salsa by tossing chopped watermelon, cucumber, yellow pepper, fresh sweet corn, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, onion and lime peel in a bowl. The salsa will taste great with some grilled chicken.
This recipe is highly nutritious as it fulfils 50% DV of your requirement of Vitamin C. It also provides lean protein and the goodness of fruit.
4. Watermelon Juice
Watermelon juice is filled with electrolytes and is refreshing. Perfect to rehydrate yourself after an exercise or a day out in the sun.
5. Roasted Watermelon seeds
Roasted seeds with a little bit of salt can prove to be a healthy snack as they are filled with magnesium, iron, folic acid and good fats.
Some Fun Facts about Watermelon
- Watermelon is both, a fruit and a vegetable. It belongs to the family of gourds like cucumber, squash and pumpkin.
- The first recorded harvest of watermelon was about 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
- 92% of the watermelon is water.
- The heaviest watermelon according to the Guinness World Records was 159 kg.
- You can find different shapes of watermelon like a cube watermelon which is grown in a glass box to gain their shape.
- Over 1200 varieties of watermelons are grown worldwide.
- Hybrid watermelons are cultivated that have little or no seeds.
- There are eight designated colours for watermelon flesh – white, salmon yellow, orange, crimson red, scarlet red, pale yellow, canary yellow and green!
Watermelon is a versatile fruit which can be consumed and benefitted from in a number of ways. Not only is the fruit a healthy option for increasing your endurance during a work-out, its magical properties also help in reducing the risk of serious diseases like asthma. The whole fruit, including its seeds and rind, is healthy. Next time you get a watermelon, you might want to try making a pickle or chutney with its rind. If not, you can gorge on its fleshy red pulp and enjoy your day.