Watermelons Pack a Healthy Punch

The scorching summer heat, bathing us all in cold sweat, drives us to the nearest pathway for that cool and refreshing succulent wedge of fresh watermelon. These vibrantly hued green and shocking pink humble wonders are often taken for granted considering their high water content. Although the truth is that besides offering thirst-quenching benefits, they are a warehouse of essential nutrients required for a healthy body and mind.

 

Watermelons

Watermelons (Image source: Wikipedia)

Citrullus lanatus or Watermelon, related to the cucumber, is a spreading, tender annual vine producing oblong, round or oval fruits weighing somewhere between 5 to 100 pounds.  Several varieties of watermelon cultivated across the globe, attribute their variation to size, shape and colour of the flesh ranging from red, orange, and yellow. With a smooth deep green striped rind and juicy pink flesh embedded with small multiple black seeds the fruit has a neutral flavour and syrup that tastes like sweet nectar.

 

History

Having originated in Africa, the evidence of watermelon cultivation was first found in Egypt from the second millennium BC where the authenticity of their legacy was found in the hieroglyphics paintings on building walls.

 

The watermelon fruits were held in great regard that they were placed in the tombs of many Egyptian kings after their death.

 

Watermelons also earned a mention in the Bible as a food eaten by the ancient Israelites while in bondage in the land of Egypt. 

 

Watermelon played an important role in the Mediterranean region, since water was in short supply and people could depend upon watermelon for it is thirst-quenching properties.

 

Nutritional Value
eating watermelon

(Image source: sxc.hu)

The luscious Watermelon is a very good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene, vitamins B1 and B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, potassium and soluble fibre.

Principle Nutrient Value (100 grams)
Energy 30 Kcal
Carbohydrates 7.6 g
Protein 0.6 g
Total Fat 0.15 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Vitamins
Folates 3 mcg
Niacin 0.178 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.221 mg
Pyridoxine 0.045 mg
Thiamin 0.033 mg
Vitamin A 569 IU
Vitamin C 8.1 mg
Vitamin E 0.05 mg
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 112 mg
Minerals
Calcium 7 mg
Copper 42 mcg
Iron 0.24 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Manganese 0.038 mg
Zinc 0.10 mg
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 303 mcg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 78 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 8 mcg
Lycopene 4532 mcg

 

Refreshing Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon Benefits

(Image source: morgueFile.com)

What you eat literally becomes you…
You are what you eat…
You have a choice in what you are made of…

The scrumptious thirst-quenching watermelon fruit is a chock-full of nutrients offering numerous benefits. Let us take a look at the most refreshing benefits of this succulent fruit.

 

Antioxidant Properties

Being nature’s most natural source of potent antioxidant vitamins such as C and A through concentration of beta-carotene, along with their abundant supply of carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene, Watermelons protect the bodies from risk of various ailments.

 

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

 

Immunity Enhancer

Another important benefit of watermelon is its high content of vitamin C, lycopene, and other powerful antioxidants, which have an excellent ability to protect our bodies against free radical damage, warding off illnesses enhancing natural defences boosting immunity.

 

Free Radicals

The potent antioxidants travelling through the body help neutralize free radicals. These free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that accelerate ageing and contribute towards various ailments, eventually leading to premature mortality.  However, vitamin C and beta-carotene present in watermelons are good at getting rid of these harmful molecules thus preventing damage.

 

Cardiac care

Since watermelons help neutralise free radicals they prevent oxidation of cholesterol and hardening of the arteries ensuring cardiac protection. According to scientists, consumption of the fruit leads to conversion of an amino acid citrulline to arginine via specific enzymes that benefit cardiac functioning.  Besides this, the antioxidant properties of the fruit prevent age related cardiac problems.

 

Diabetes Care

The various vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium help in proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus lowering the blood sugar level.  Arginine, an amino acid is very effective in enhancing impact of insulin on sugar.

 

Hypertension Control

A good source of potassium and Magnesium, including the presence of citrulline an amino acid, watermelons help control blood pressure and balance body’s electrolyte and acid-base.

 

Cancer Protection

Watermelon a very concentrated source of the carotenoid, lycopene has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and anticancer properties.  The findings on a study of lycopene, in humans stated that due to their antioxidant properties, they were linked to DNA protection inside white blood cells that help protect cells from free radical damage.  Therefore, they are protective against a growing list of cancers that include prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and colorectal cancers.

 

Watermelons for Renal Health

An excellent source of potassium Watermelon helps flush out unwanted toxins from the body.  They prevent formation of renal calculi by reducing concentration of uric acid in the blood.  With their high water content, watermelons cleanse the kidneys by inducing frequent urination.

 

Brain Food

An excellent source of vitamin B6, watermelon makes an awesome brain food since it contains 92% water, which is the same content as the brain.  Besides this, watermelon helps regulate brain chemicals, thus normalizing sleep patterns, alleviating stress and depression besides enhancing a feel good factor.

 

Hydrating Benefits

Summer and Watermelons are synonymous.  Rich in electrolytes Watermelons contain 92% water.  Therefore, they help keep the body hydrated during the summer months by replacing the fluids and minerals lost through sweating, reducing risk of dehydration.

 

Diuretic Effects

Watermelon acts as a natural diuretic as they flush out unwanted toxins in the body reducing water retention and bloating.

 

Watermelons for Weight Loss

A low calorie sweet filling food, watermelon with high water content, helps lose weight.  They make great options for calorie-laden snacks and junk foods that lead to bloating and obesity.

 

Energy Booster

Watermelon, a rich source of vitamins B6 and B1, and minerals like magnesium and potassium, act as natural energy boosters.

 

Benefits of Watermelon for Vision Health

Watermelons profuse with beta-carotene vitamin-C Lutein and Zeaxanthin ensure protection to eyes preventing age related macular degeneration, night blindness, dry eyes syndrome and glaucoma.

 

Glowing Skin

Watermelons and are used both internally and externally for beauty enhancement.  With their naturally slightly astringent quality, the fruit may be used to improve skin’s appearance.  With their ability to neutralise free radicals, they help prevent fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, which could result from free radicals and reversing some of the damage already done to the skin. Read more glowing skin tips

 

Benefits of Watermelon for Men

Arginine, an amino acid, aids production of nitric oxide, a chemical that helps relax blood vessels improving sexual stamina preventing erectile dysfunction and impotence.

 

Do you know…
  • Watermelons were used by early explorers as canteens
  • According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, weighing 121.93 kg
  • The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles
  • Watermelon seeds are consumed as a snack during the Vietnamese New Year’s holiday, Tết
  • Watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew
  • The Oklahoma State Senate on 17 April 2007 passed a bill declaring watermelon as the official state vegetable, although with an argument over the status of watermelon being a vegetable or a fruit.
  • Watermelon is the symbol of Turkish city, Diyarbakir.
  • Watermelon juice can be made into wine.
  • In June 2008, one of the first harvested ‘Densuke’ watermelon was sold at an auction for 650,000 yen (US$ 6,300), making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold.
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