Don’t we all love to eat watermelon during the hot summer season? We usually add this cool refreshing fruit to a salad or blend it into a smoothie. Unfortunately, you that you are missing out on its highly nutritious rind. The green skin of watermelon and the white part between the pink flesh and the tough green skin are rich in nutrients that can do wonders for your health.
This part is rich in citrulline, which helps to protect you from free radical damage. Citrulline gets converted into arginine, which is an amino acid that is vital to the heart, circulatory system, and the immune system. In this article, you will learn about the nutritional profile and health benefit of the watermelon rind.
Nutritional value of watermelon rind
A one-inch cube of watermelon rind contains –
- Calories: 1.8
- Carbohydrates: .32 grams
- Vitamin C: 2% of RDI
- Vitamin B6: 1% of RDI
Watermelon rind also contains vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
Health benefits of watermelon rind
1. Keeps kidneys healthy
Watermelon rind contains potassium, which is essential for healthy kidneys. It regulates and maintains the acid level in the urine. The high water content of watermelon rind helps to flush out kidney stones. The diuretic and hydrating properties of watermelon rind are also useful for treating urinary tract infections. Drink a glass of freshly extracted watermelon rind juice regularly if you have a history of UTI.
2. Reduces inflammation
Watermelon rind contains lycopene, which provides it with anti-inflammatory properties. So eating watermelon rind can help reduce inflammation responsible for arthritis pain. The citrulline content in watermelon also helps improve athletic performance.
3. Treats erectile dysfunction
Watermelon rind is rich in citrulline, an amino acid that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, just like Viagra and other medications used to treat erectile dysfunction. Citrulline is converted into arginine, which is the precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to dilate the blood vessels. According to a 2011 study from Italy, citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction (1).
4. Improves heart health
Watermelon rind encourages healthy blood circulation, which is highly beneficial for the heart. The smooth blood flow protects the heart from clogged arteries. People with cardiac issues like congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and angina are often told to use arginine supplements. Watermelon rind can offer the same benefit.
Eating watermelon rind can also help you to lower your blood pressure. Citrulline present in the rind helps dilate blood vessels, which in turn helps lower blood pressure. According to research published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2012, watermelon extract supplementation helps reduce ankle blood pressure in obese adults (2). Watermelon is also a diuretic, which is often prescribed for people with high blood pressure.
6. Combats free radicals
A large amount of citrulline found in watermelon rind also helps in getting rid of free radicals from the body. Citrulline gets converted into arginine in the body which protects the heart, boosts immunity and prevents toxins in the body.
7. Helps in weight loss
The citrulline content of watermelon rind helps in weight loss as well. According to studies, people who consume citrulline have 30 percent less weight gain. Citrulline also helps to lower muscle fatigue, which allows people to exercise better and for longer, which helps in weight loss. Watermelon rind is rich in fiber, which helps you stay fuller for longer and hence helps in less calorie consumption.
8. Reduces pregnancy symptoms
Pregnant women can consume watermelon rind to reduce unpleasant symptoms like swelling and heartburn. The natural sugars of this fruit also help to alleviate morning sickness and dehydration. Pregnant women in their third trimester should consume watermelon rind to reduce muscle cramps as citrulline content of this fruit helps relax blood vessels.
Watermelon rind contains magnesium, a mineral linked to improving sleep quality. Watermelon also helps in regulating metabolism, which helps to reduce sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia.
10. May reduce the risk of cancer
Watermelon rind is an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals and wards off cancer. Studies have shown that lycopene can significantly reduce the risk of prostate, breast, colon, lung, and endometrial cancer (3).
11. Reduces skin inflammation
Watermelon rind has been used to soothe inflamed skin for generations in Korea. The rind of watermelon can reduce redness, calm inflammation, and speed up the cell turnover process. Traditionally watermelon rinds are rubbed on to sunburns, rashes or inflamed skin to soothe and aid in the recovery process in Korea. Watermelon rind contains lycopene which can be used to treat acne. A cooling mask with watermelon rind, mixed with avocado or banana can also help improve skin.
12. Prevents hair loss
Arginine helps improve blood circulation in the scalp. Watermelon rind contains citrulline, which increases the levels of arginine and thus helps promote hair growth. Watermelon rind also contains vitamin C, which helps the body to use non-heme iron. This process helps the iron in the red blood cells to carry oxygen to the hair follicles and promotes healthy hair growth. We also need collagen for healthy hair, and watermelon helps to promote collagen formation.
Ways to use watermelon rinds
Now that you know the various health benefits of watermelon, it’s time to try out different watermelon rind recipes. Here are some unique ways to use watermelon rind and create sumptuous and nutritious treats.
1. Watermelon rind jam
To make a watermelon rind jam, peel the green part and use the white part of the rind. You can use this jam on toast or put in on desserts.
2. Watermelon rind pickle
Pickling is a quick and convenient way to make a snack out of watermelon rinds. These pickles are ready in just a few hours.
3. Watermelon rind coleslaw
You can grate watermelon rind and use it in place of cabbage to make watermelon rind coleslaw. This slaw is sweeter than the traditional coleslaw.
4. Watermelon rind salsa
You can also use watermelon rinds to make salsa. Pickle this rind, onion, and jalapeno together with spices, oil and lemon juice for an hour before serving.
This South African dish is made by preserving the rinds of the watermelon. In this recipe pieces of watermelon rind are kept in a thick, sweet syrup. It is added as an accompaniment for cheese at the end of a meal.
6. Watermelon rind stir fry
Cut the rind into cubes and cook it in a pan stir-fry style or you can even roast it. Cooked watermelon rind testes a bit like summer squash.
7. Watermelon rind curry
Watermelon rind has a crisp texture that holds up well to heat. Just discard the green peel and cut the white part of the rind into small pieces. Now use ghee and spices like paprika, coriander powder, turmeric, and salt to create a curry of the watermelon rind.
Most people discard the rinds of the watermelon after eating the fruit. This oft wasted part of this juicy fruit is high in nutrition and quite beneficial for health. Watermelon rind is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It also contains citrulline and lycopene which provide numerous health benefits.
Watermelon rind reduces inflammation, keeps kidneys healthy, treats erectile dysfunction, lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, combats free radicals, help in weight loss, lowers pregnancy symptoms, improves sleep, may reduce risk of cancer, reduce skin inflammation and prevent hair fall. You can pickle watermelon rind or use it to make coleslaw, jam, stir fry and curries. Use it also helps to cut down the garbage you produce, which is beneficial for the environment.