What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with cold, juicy watermelon. After all, it’s one of the best ways to combat the sun draining all of your energy. We could all use a little rejuvenation this time of year!
We often assume this delicious fruit is made of simply sugar and water, but over the years, nutritionists and researchers have shown that this summertime staple is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can improve your health in many ways, while still packing a sweet, delicious punch! Watermelon is a nutritious, budget-friendly snack. Check out some of its other incredible health benefits below.
01 Watermelon is Packed with Powerful Antioxidants
Watermelon is one of the most abundant sources of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is responsible for the pink and red colors seen in tomatoes, grapefruit, and papaya and has been shown to protect against aging and many chronic conditions. Most notably, lycopene has been associated with decreased risk of certain cancers, increased skin smoothness, improved bone health, and decreased risk of hypertension. To maximize lycopene intake, let the watermelon fully ripen. The redder the inside of the watermelon, the higher concentration of lycopene.
02 Watermelon Supports your Immune System
Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C are just a few of the vitamins found in watermelon. It’s said that these nutrients contribute to boosting your immune system by producing antibodies and enhancing the infection-fighting action of white blood cells. Vitamin A not only plays a role in immune function, but is essential for your eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Vitamin B6 can also help maintain normal nerve function and produce red blood cells. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help your body heal from wounds and protect your cells from harmful free radicals that aid in the aging process.
03 Watermelon is Loaded with Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral that regulates fluid balance, maintains blood pressure, and supports muscle function. Your body needs 4700 mg of potassium per day and according to the World Health Organization, most of the global population is not meeting this recommendation. Slice up 2 cups of watermelon and you’ll be getting around 270 mg of potassium. Low potassium has been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease as well as some short-term side effects like muscle cramps. Watermelon is one of the best sources of potassium behind tomato sauce (728 mg) and potatoes (542 mg).
04 Watermelon Improves Blood Flow and Detoxifies
Citrulline is a nonessential amino acid found in all parts of watermelon including the flesh, seeds, and rind. Research states that the body converts citrulline to arginine which plays a huge role in cell division, wound healing, and removing ammonia and other toxins from the blood. When your body converts citrulline to arginine, nitric oxide is created which dilates the blood vessels and helps improve blood flow.
05 It is Extra Hydrating
Hence the name, watermelon is about 92% water. Not only do you need water for proper hydration, but the electrolytes in watermelon provide an extra boost. Electrolytes are minerals that dissolve in water and help conduct electricity needed for cell communication, muscle contraction, and heart function. Electrolytes also ensure that your cells get rid of waste and deliver the proper nutrients to all parts of your body. In the hot summer months, we lose electrolytes through sweat, so replacing them with watermelon is a great way to avoid a harmful fluid imbalance.
06 Watermelon is Low in Calories
A two-cup serving of watermelon only contains 80 calories! The high water content in this delicious fruit accounts for its low-energy density, meaning you can eat more and fill up with fewer calories. An 80-calorie serving of watermelon provides 270 mg of potassium, 1g of protein, 30 percent of your recommended daily vitamin A intake, and 25 percent of your recommended vitamin C intake making it a super nutrient dense snack. Keep in mind that too much of any food may contribute to excessive calorie intake and weight gain. Eating a whole watermelon can be as much as 1,440 calories, so consume this and other fruits in reasonable portions.
Check out our recipe for Watermelon Lime Sorbet. Click here for the blog post, and here for the full video of Health Summer Treats!