Watermelon is one of the most refreshing and delicious summer fruits. Not only is it a favourite summertime snack, but there are numerous health benefits of watermelon. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family, watermelons grow on vines on the ground.

Though the origin of this cooling fruit is not very clear, one thing everyone agrees on is that it is highly nutritious. Watermelons are 91 percent water. They are also rich in beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, and many B vitamins.  They are also a good source of numerous minerals and anti-oxidants.

Let us read more about the nutritional properties and health benefits of eating this delicious fruit.

Nutritional profile

Watermelons are 91 percent water and 7.5 percent carbs. They contain negligible fats and few proteins. Here are the primary nutrients present in 100 grams of watermelon (1).

  • Calories: 30
  • Water: 91 % DV (Daily Value)
  • Carbs: 7.6 %  DV(Dietary fibre: .4 grams, Sugar: 6.2 grams)
  • Fats: .2 grams
  • Proteins: .6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 11% DV
  • Vitamin C: 14 % DV
  • Calcium: 1%
  • Iron: 1%
  • Potassium: 5%
  • Magnesium: 4 %

Health benefits of watermelon

1. Helps prevent cancer

Watermelon is a rich source of lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that is known to fight breast and prostate cancer. Lycopene helps in keeping the cell membranes healthy so they can protect themselves against toxins that can damage the cells. Studies have also shown that lycopene helps protect against the cancer of the digestive system (2).

Watermelon is also a rich source of vitamin C, and vitamin A. Both these antioxidants help fight free radical damage and prevent the formation of cancerous tumours.

Vitamin C also helps enhance the effectiveness of specific drugs in chemotherapy.

2. Improves heart health

Watermelon contains potassium and magnesium, both of which are essential for reducing high blood pressure. Research shows that a diet rich in potassium and magnesium helps lower blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure (3).

Lycopene, a carotenoid found in watermelon, helps reduce inflammation and relieves arterial stiffness in post-menopausal women (4).

Citrulline, an amino acid present in watermelon helps increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide helps lower the blood pressure by expanding the blood vessels (5).

Watermelon also contains Vitamin A, B6 and C which are vital for heart health.

3. Helps prevent kidney stones

Watermelons are rich in calcium and potassium which are helpful in flushing out toxins from the kidney (6). This cleansing prevents the formation of kidney stones.

Calcium also helps in lowering the concentration of uric acid in the blood. The excessive uric acid in the blood can cause gout and kidney stones.

Since watermelon is 91 percent water, it is a natural diuretic, and it helps the kidneys to function correctly.

4. Relieves muscle soreness

One of the benefits of watermelon is that it relieves muscle soreness. Citrulline, an essential amino acid present in watermelon helps in reducing muscle soreness. The presence of this amino acid increases in the watermelon juice.

During a study on a small group of athletes, researchers observed that drinking watermelon juice leads to faster heart rate recovery and minimal muscle soreness (7).

This was attributed to the presence of citrulline in watermelon juice.

Watermelon also contains vitamin C, which performs the vital task of protecting cartilage and bones. The potassium content in watermelon also helps in preventing muscle cramping after strenuous exercise.

5. Helps prevent dehydration

Since watermelon contains 91 percent water, it can play a significant role in preventing dehydration. It is also full of electrolytes, which makes it a great snack when you are out in the sun. It also contains potassium which helps to maintain the water levels in the body.

Watermelon is also rich in beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C, all of which protect our body from ultraviolet light.

6. Helps reduce inflammation

Watermelon contains a compound called lycopene, which is very effective in reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative stress.

In a study, when lab rats were given watermelon powder, it improved their risk of cardiovascular disease and lowered the level of inflammation by altering gene expression for lipid metabolism (8).

Watermelon also contains triterpenoid cucurbitacin  E which blocks the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes and thus provides anti-inflammatory support.

Lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family, also helps delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (9).

7. Improves eye health

Watermelon contains many vital nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene and zeaxanthin, which are essential to keep our eyes healthy.

Lycopene, a carotenoid found in red fruits and vegetables, is essential to prevent macular degeneration.

Beta-carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A in the body, helps produce pigments in the retina of the eye and hence prevents against age-related macular degeneration (10).

8. Helps to lose weight

Watermelon is high in nutrition but very low in calories. There are only 30 calories in 100 grams of watermelon so, it is an excellent snack if you are trying to lose weight.

The potassium and magnesium in watermelon help in quicker muscles recovery after you exercise.

The citrulline which is present in watermelon also aids fat loss as it reduces the accumulation of fats in fat cells.

9. Helps improve digestion

Watermelon contains 91% of water and some fibre as well, both of which are important for a healthy digestive system. While dietary fibre helps to bulk up the stool, the water in watermelon helps to keep the digestive tract moving efficiently.

10. Skin and hair care

Watermelon is a rich source of Vitamin C and A, which are known for their anti-ageing benefits. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, which helps keep the skin and hair healthy. Vitamin A helps to repair skin cells.

Lycopene and beta-carotene also protect our skin from damage due to sunburn (11). Vitamin C also helps in the growth of hair follicles, so watermelon is also useful for hair growth.

11. Boosts immunity

Research has shown that adequate intake of vitamin C is beneficial in improving immunity (12).  Watermelon is a rich source of this vitamin.

Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid that is converted into arginine in the body. Arginine is used in the synthesis of nitric oxide which helps maintain an efficient immune system.

12. Prevents asthma

Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin C. This vitamin is beneficial in lowering the risk of asthma in people.

13. Detoxifies the body

Another health benefit of watermelon is detoxification of the body. The high water content in watermelon helps to detoxify the body. The potassium in the body acts as an electrolyte helps to maintain hydration levels and allows oxygen to reach the cells.

It also helps in water retention in the gut and prevents dehydration.  This nutritious fruit is alkaline, and it helps bring the ph level in the body back to its natural level.

Health risks of watermelon

Watermelon does not cause any serious health risks if eaten in moderation. However, we must not overeat it as it can lead to some health issues.

1. Nausea and diarrhoea

Overeating watermelon can increase the levels of lycopene and potassium in the body. Eating more than 30 mg of lycopene in a day can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and indigestion.

2. Can spike sugar levels

Watermelon contains a high amount of sugar but negligible amounts of proteins and fats, so overeating of this fruit can spike blood sugar levels. So, if you have diabetes, it is better to avoid this fruit.

Conclusion

We just read that there are numerous health benefits of watermelon. It is a highly nutritious and refreshing fruit that has numerous health benefits. Enjoy this low-calorie snack and improve your health.