Watermelons are the world’s most-consumed melon.
You may think you know everything there is to know about this summertime fruit, but allow me to surprise you…
Watermelons are more than just delicious. They’re also a super-healthy addition to your diet (in moderation, of course). Keep reading to find out about the amazing health benefits that you get from eating watermelons!
Eight interesting health facts about watermelons
#1: Watermelons are loaded with more lycopene than raw tomatoes
Lycopene is a powerful carotenoid and antioxidant that gives fruit and vegetables a red or pink colour. Raw tomatoes are the best-known sources of lycopene, but watermelon is actually a much more concentrated source.
Compared to a fresh tomato, one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times the lycopene. To learn about the health benefits of lycopene, you can read my article here.
#2: Watermelon juice helps sooth muscle soreness
If you own a juicer, try juicing about one-third of a fresh watermelon and drinking its juice before your next workout. This contains a little over one gram of l-citrulline, an amino acid that helps relieve muscle pain.
One study found that men who drank natural unpasteurised watermelon juice prior to their workouts had reduced muscle soreness 24 hours later compared to those who drank a placebo.
#3: Watermelons are both a fruit and a vegetable
Watermelon relates to veggies including cucumbers, squash and pumpkin. That’s because it’s part fruit and part vegetable (it’s a sweet, seed-producing plant, after all). So, yes, chomping on a slice of watermelon will provide you with the goodness of both!
The other clue that watermelons are both a fruit and a vegetable? Its rind is entirely edible…
#4: Watermelon seeds and rind are both edible
Apart from the refreshing pink flesh, the seeds and rind of watermelons are edible too! Most people toss out the rind, but try putting it in a blender with some lime for a healthy treat.
The rind contains plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll. It also contains citrulline that helps maintain heart health and a strong immune system. The seeds, on the other hand, are also healthy. They contain iron, zinc, protein and fibre.
#5: Watermelons contain mostly water
This probably doesn’t surprise you, but it’s still a fun fact – watermelons contain more than 91% water. This means that tucking into a few slices of watermelon on a warm summer’s day is a tasty way to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.
But, please remember: Munching away on watermelon is no substitute for drinking lots of fresh water!
#6: Watermelon extract can help reduce blood pressure
New research also highlights the role of watermelon nutrients on heart attack prevention, via a significant reduction in blood pressure. Obese study participants who received citrulline and arginine supplements derived from watermelon extract had significant improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress, both while at rest and undergoing a stressful cold-water test.
Researchers explain that in your body, the citrulline in watermelon converts into L-arginine, which is a precursor to nitric oxide. Adequate nitric oxide is required to enable your blood vessels to stay relaxed and open for blood flow, which is one reason why it may help lower blood pressure.
#7: Watermelons can help reduce inflammation
Watermelon is rich in anti-inflammatory substances. For example, it contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant lycopene as well as curcubitacin E, which reduces the activity of the pain- and inflammation-causing enzyme cyclooxygenase.
So, if you struggle with joint pain or arthritis, a slice or two of this tasty melon might just help with bone inflammation and reduce the pain.
#8: Watermelons can boost your sexual health
Watermelon contains L-arginine, an amino acid which helps with erectile dysfunction. It works by helping to relax a man’s blood vessels. Yup, this is why some people actually refer to watermelon as “Nature’s Viagra”!
Picking the perfect watermelon
Cutting into a watermelon and finding out it lacks flavour is disappointing. So here’s the trick: Pick a watermelon with pale, buttery-yellow spot (not white or green) on the bottom. This is where the watermelon sits on the ground ripening. It’s one of the best indicator of ripeness you can use (even commercial watermelon-pickers use this as a gauge).
Once you’ve chosen your watermelon, slice it up and tuck in! Your body will thank you for all of the health benefits that it’ll bring about…