Watermelon: Information on health benefits, nutritional quotient and medicinal values

Watermelon has been attributed to being a 'cooling' fruit ideal for the summer months. It is more than that. Did you know that watermelons are packed with nutrients that can fight disease and help you stay healthy? Read on to know the many benefits of this yummy fruit.

There is a popular belief that watermelon is plain water and that is all there is to this delicious summer fruit. The fact of the matter is that watermelons are more than just water. A one-inch thick slice of watermelon, for instance, has approximately 100 calories. Before, you jump out of your skin, let me add that these are healthy calories, well as healthy as calories can get. They are not going to kill you or make you obese.

Watermelons are mostly water, but they also contain a fair amount of sugar. They are also an excellent source minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. This puts them in the category of nutritionally dense foods. To put it simply, watermelons are good for you.

This is one fruit that is exceptionally beneficial in summers because every bite provides copious amounts of water along with a lot of nutrition. It helps ward off the bad effects of the summer and can be enjoyed as a guilt-free snack, whenever there is an urge to munch on something or the need to quench thirst.

Types of watermelon

Watermelons belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with muskmelons, honeydew and cantaloupe. Watermelons are of different types and they can best be differentiated based on their size, colour and shape. Seedless varieties have become increasing popular because they are hassle free to eat. Yellow watermelons are perhaps the sweetest variety.

Watermelon is more than a tasty fruit

Watermelons are definitely nourishing and offer similar health benefits as all the other vegetables and fruits. Studies suggest watermelons can lessen the risk of various lifestyle-related medical conditions. If you are familiar with the ten-a-day rule that fitness gurus, medical practitioners and dieticians recommend then know that the watermelon can be one part of that ten.

Ten-a-day rule

The ten-a-day rule (which was until recently five-a-day) suggests the number of fruit and vegetable helpings that should be had in a day to maintain optimum health. If is often difficult to include ten helpings of fruits and vegetables in our diet, so if you have a huge slice of watermelon, count it as one helping. It gets you closer to your target.

Watermelon has been attributed to fighting many lifestyle diseases. It is low in calorie and high in water and fibre, and it, therefore, is filling. It cuts down the risk of obesity, which is the foundation of most diseases. It actually is a great food to munch on, if you are trying to lose weight. Watermelon included in the diet can help combat heart disease and diabetes.

It boosts energy levels, keeps the body hydrated, encourages soft, glowing and healthy skin and stimulates hair growth.

Health benefits of watermelon

What makes watermelons healthy is their rich content of healthy nutrients. Specific diseases can be controlled by eating foods rich in specific nutrients. The diseases and health conditions that watermelons can help ward off are as under.

Helps maintain health of the respiratory tract

A Hundred grammes of watermelon contains around 8.1mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to ward off common colds and cough and ease symptoms of the flu. Eating watermelon strengthens immunity and prevents these diseases. A little-known fact about this fruit is that it also helps with the symptoms of asthma. Some asthmatic patients have fewer attacks if they consume watermelons regularly.

Protects the heart

Watermelon is rich in lycopene, a naturally occurring chemical, present in all red coloured fruits and vegetables. It is what gives fruits and vegetables the red colour. The chemical is known to have a positive effect on the heart and protects it against disease.

Cancer fighting agent

Watermelons are a rich source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is a good defence against free radicals. Free radicals in the body cause cancer. Research indicates that lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer. And watermelons being rich in this chemical provide a good defence against prostate cancer.

Regulates the digestive tract

They have a very high water and fibre content, both of which aid in digestion and prevent constipation. Fibre adds bulk to the stool and water makes it soft and easy to pass. It keeps the digestive tract clean and healthy.

Prevents dehydration

The summer fruit is mostly water. A whopping ninety-two percent of the fruit is water. It is also packed with essential electrolytes which make it a wonder fruit that fends off signs of dehydration. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and fever, and also vomiting and diarrhoea. Left unattended it can also be fatal.

Averts inflammation

Choline is a micronutrient that the body needs for a number of processes such as proper liver function, muscle movement, development of the brain, encouraging energy levels and supporting healthy metabolic rate. It can be called a multipurpose nutrient and there is plenty of it in watermelon.

The micronutrient also manages the absorption of fat, helps maintain proper sleep, assists with memory and learning, and lessens chronic inflammation.

Relieves muscle soreness

L-citrulline, an amino acid that athletes and fitness enthusiasts take to decrease muscle soreness and speed up repair of damaged muscle tissues. This amino acid is present in abundance in the fruit and can replace supplements.

Controls blood pressure

Recent findings indicate that supplements made from watermelon extract when administered to overweight, middle-aged individuals diagnosed with having stage 1 hypertension lowered their blood pressure.

Skin rejuvenator

A rich source of vitamin A, watermelons work well to improve skin health. Vitamin A helps in skin cell rejuvenation, controls sebum production, and prevents acne breakouts. The high water content in the fruit keeps the skin and hair glowing, supple and moisturised. The vitamin C content in watermelons helps collagen production and maintenance, which boosts skin health.

Nutritional quotient of watermelon

A small bowl of chopped watermelon has zero fat and contains less than 50 calories. It provides approximately 10 grammes of carbohydrates and 2 milligrammes of sodium. There is 1 gramme of fibre in a small bowl of watermelon.

The same portion of watermelon also gives you healthy amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C along with calcium and iron. The fruit is also a good source of the following minerals potassium, magnesium, choline, zinc, phosphorous, copper, selenium, lycopene, manganese and betaine. Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9 are also present in the fruit.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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