Health benefits of watermelon

Watermelon is a big round or oval sized fruit grown in a flowering plant which is a scrambler and trailer.  It is a kind of a modified berry called pepo. It has a green thick skin with dark green stripes on it with pink to red flesh inside. There are many small seeds inside the flesh. Watermelon is found in other colors like orange, yellow or white. But only the green variety is grown widely in most of the countries. Let us explore the health benefits of watermelon and about how it can lead to a more energetic body.

About watermelons

Watermelon is a fruit of African origin. It is known to be cultivated in India since the 7th century. Subsequently many other countries namely China, European countries, Brazil and Panama began cultivating this fruit.

There are about 300 varieties of watermelon known to the world but only about 50 of them are popular. The size of the watermelon fruit varies from 20 cm to 60 cm in diameter weighing many kilos. However, the normal varieties weigh about 2 to 5 kg.

Nutrition information

Watermelon is low in calories but is rich in vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to health. A 100 gm serving of watermelon flesh in raw form, provides 30 calories of energy, 7.55 gm. of carbohydrates, a meager quantity of dietary fiber and fat.

With 91.45 gm. of water in 100 gm of flesh, vitamin C is the other highest component in watermelons. This constitutes 10% of RDA weighing 8.1 mg. In every 100 gm. of flesh of a watermelon, 0.221mg of pantothenic acid, 28 micrograms of  vitamin A (beta-carotene) , riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, choline, thiamine are present, all of which are available in very small quantities.

Watermelon also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, lycopene and zinc in very small quantities.

Watermelon hydrates the body faster than water making it the most sought after fruit during summer.

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Health benefits of watermelon

Blood pressure

Watermelon reduces ankle blood pressure and brachial blood pressure. It also reduces carotid wave reflection in middle aged people who suffer from type-1 hypertension and are obese.

Heart care

Lycopene in watermelon prevents heart diseases.

Prevents cancer

Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants in watermelon helps to reduce free radicals in the body. As the free radicals cause cancer eradication, it prevents cancer. In addition, the lycopene in watermelon decreases the risk of prostate cancer.

Anti-inflammation

Choline in watermelon helps in muscle movement and in cognitive activities such as learning and memory. Choline also aids in sleep and improves transmission of impulses of the nerves. Choline in watermelon is also a remedy for chronic inflammation and reduction of fat in the body.

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Bone strength

Watermelon is rich in potassium which retains calcium in the body to enable strengthening of the bones and joints. Lycopene in watermelon reduces oxidative stress and consequently acts as a medicine for pathogenesis of osteoblasts and osteoclasts which eventually strengthens the bones.

Eye care

Beta carotene in watermelon converts itself into vitamin A in the body. This facilitates the production of retinal pigments. It also protects the eyes from night blindness and macular degeneration.

Reduction of fat

Citrulline present in watermelon prevents the accumulation of fat in our body. Citrulline is an amino acid which with the help of kidneys converts itself into arginine as and when required. By doing so citrulline blocks the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase). This results in creation of lesser fat and prevents accumulation of fat in the body.

Citrulline and arginine reduce muscle soreness. If you consume watermelon juice immediately after a workout, it improves circulation of blood. It also reduces the heart beat rate to a normal level.

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Arginine is also helpful in curing erectile dysfunction as arginine is a stimulant.

Skin and hair care

Vitamin A in water melon which is equal to about 25% of RDA is helpful in improving formation of collagen and elastin cells. It hence keeps the hair and skin in the body moisturized. Consuming watermelon regularly acts as natural moisturizer.

Kidney care

Potassium present in watermelon cleanses the toxic deposits in the kidneys. It also reduces the concentration of uric acid in blood which prevents damage to kidneys. Because of the high water content, watermelon induces frequent urination and keeps kidneys healthy for a long time.

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How to consume

The seeds of watermelon are rich in proteins and beneficial fats. You can roast the seeds and consume them.

Although you can consume all parts of the watermelon including the thick rind, only the red flesh inside or its juice is tasty. The thick rind portion is bitter in taste but you can consume it by cooking with certain spices.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.