Watermelon is a fruit of a plant originally from a vine somewhere in Southern Africa. It is native to tropical Africa and has eventually been cultivated around the world. It is refreshing and delicious and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and many other healthy plant compounds. Aside from this, the calories in watermelon are 46 calories per cup.
Benefits of watermelon:
Hydrating. As water is important to keep the body hydrated, fruits and other food with a high water content can suffice. Watermelon has 92% water. After all, it is a watermelon, right?
Also, did you know that the reason why fruits and vegetables help you feel full is because of their high water content? Now you know! The combination of water and fibre means the one who eats it has a good volume of food without a lot of calories.
Contains nutrients and minerals. Watermelon is one of the fruits with the lowest calories as a cup (or 154 grams) only contains 46 calories. This is even lower than fruits low in sugar such as berries.
A cup or (154 grams) of watermelon contains these vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamins B1, B5, and B6: 3% of the RDI
Aside from all these, watermelon is also high in carotenoids which includes beta-carotene and lycopene. It also has citrulline which is an important amino acid.
Contains compounds that help in preventing cancer. Researchers studied lycopene and other individual plant compounds present in watermelon for their anti-cancer effects. Lycopene appears to reduce cancer risk by lowering insulin-like growth factor which is a protein involved in cell division. More so, cucurbitacin E has been investigated for its ability to inhibit tumour growth.
Improves heart health. Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide and several nutrients in watermelon have specific benefits for heart health. Studies suggest that lycopene can help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. More so, it is also said to aid in preventing oxidative damage to cholesterol. Aside from this, lycopene may also reduce the stiffness and thickness of artery walls according to studies in obese, postmenopausal women and Finnish men.
Lowers Inflammation and Oxidative Stress. Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases and watermelon can aid in lowering inflammation and oxidative damage as it is rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidants lycopene and vitamin C. A study in lab rats last 2015 showed that the rats fed with watermelon powder to supplement an unhealthy diet has developed lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and less oxidative stress.
Relieves muscle soreness. Watermelon juice seemed to enhance the absorption of citrulline which is an amino acid that may reduce muscle soreness. A small study with athletes revealed that it reduces soreness.