13 Impressive Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon health benefits includes managing diabetes, fighting free radicals, support healthy heart, source of energy and water, reduces severity of asthma attacks and support weight loss. Other benefits are protecting nerve function, eradicating inflammation, help balance pH level, prevent exhaustion and heat stroke, reduces risk of developing periodontal disease, support kidney health and support digestion.
Watermelon is the quintessential summertime fruit. It is a staple at picnics and backyard parties everywhere. You know watermelon is sweet and juicy, but did you know that your favorite warm weather treat is also bursting with healthy benefits as well? Here are thirteen science backed benefits that tell the story of just how wonderful watermelon really is.
13 Impressive Health Benefits of Watermelon
1. Antioxidants: Vitamin C and Lycopene
When you bite into a cool wedge of watermelon, you probably do not have antioxidants on your mind. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that watermelon is a great source of the free radical fighting warriors, specifically in the form of vitamin C and lycopene.
Free radicals are renegade molecules that are missing an electron. To once again make themselves complete, that go off in search of an electron to steal from another complete molecule. Antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene intervene by providing one of their extra electrons to the free radical, thereby neutralizing it and preventing it from causing cellular damage.
2. Protection Against Diabetes
When you consume watermelon, your kidneys convert one amino acid, L-citrulline, into another amino acid, L-arginine. The one-two punch of these two amino acids has many health benefits, not the least of which is protection against the development of diabetes.
Studies show that L-arginine supplementation is beneficial in regulating glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. While you might not be able to get as much of the amino acid from watermelon as you might through supplementation, it is noting that foods that contain this compound can be a beneficial part of a diet designed to fight against diabetes.
3. L-citrulline for Recovery
The next time you reach for a post work out drink that contains L-citrulline, reach for a wedge of watermelon instead. The restorative amino acid helps accelerate the rate of lactic acid removal from your muscles, giving you a quicker recovery time after your tough workout. Watermelon also has a high water content, so it will help you rehydrate in one of the most delicious ways possible.
4. Heart Healthy Summertime Treat
Lycopene is responsible for the pinkish red hue of watermelons. It is also responsible for every shade of red tomato from the palest pink to the most garnet like reds. Did you know that there is more lycopene in watermelon than tomatoes? Almost one and half times more.
Lycopene has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in people who either take supplements or consume lycopene rich foods on a regular basis.
5. Reduction of Severity and Frequency of Asthma Attacks
Interesting new research is pointing towards a connection between vitamin C and asthma. Current research indicates that low levels of vitamin C correlates to an increase of asthma attacks, while higher levels of vitamin C are tied to a reduction in asthma symptoms.
What to do? Eat more vitamin C rich foods, such as watermelon which has nearly 40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C in just one thick, juicy wedge.
6. Helps You Lose Weight Faster
If you are trying to lose weight, you know that we all have those triggers that send us down the road of temptation, longing after something that we know isn’t the healthiest option. For many people, that thing is sweets. It isn’t just about the sweetness of sugary treats, but also about the texture and the mouthfeel. This is one reason why a strawberry might not satisfy you mentally in the same way as cheesecake.
However, watermelon brings something new to the dessert table. The texture of watermelon is almost like that of a dessert that melts in your mouth. It can be sliced and presented on a plate just like a piece of cake or pie. Watermelon satisfies the emotional craving as well as the physical one.
One more reason that watermelon helps you lose weight? Watermelon is mostly water, combined with an honorable fiber content. These combination fills you up and leaves you satisfied longer than any sugary, fat laden dessert.
7. The Potassium in Watermelon Protects Nerve Function
Watermelon is rich in potassium, which helps to regulate nerve function by facilitating the passage of electrical impulses and messages. Too little potassium can cause lack of nerve function, numbness and tingling. If you suffer from night time leg cramps, a potassium deficiency might also be the cause. Steer clear from these unpleasant side effects by enjoying a cup of watermelon which has approximately 170 mg of potassium.
8. Eradicate Inflammation
Chronic, systemic inflammation is known to be a precursor to many of the serious diseases that we suffer from today including diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia and even cancer. Because inflammation can have such a detrimental effect on the body, it is necessary to take steps to fight it in every possible way. One of the most effective means of fighting inflammation is through dietary sources.
Watermelon contains the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline, two known powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Keeping cool with watermelon can help cool down inflammation as well.
9. Helps Balance Your pH
The foods we eat and the drinks we enjoy all fall somewhere along the pH scale. Some are considered acidic, while others are considered basic or alkaline. The human body regulates itself at a very specific 7.4. On a scale of 0-14, the lower the number the more acidic it is. As you can see, the body falls just on the side of being slightly more alkaline. The problem is that the average diet filled with saturated fats, sugars and processed foods tends to be more acidic, which can throw off the balance of the body’s pH. Major pH imbalances are rare and serious, but minor shifts into the acidic zone can leave you feeling off.
Watermelon is an alkaline food, which helps to neutralize the acidic components in our diets, and thereby helping our bodies maintain a proper pH level.
10. Prevents Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Every summer, thousands fall victim to heat stroke, with more than two hundred people dying from the condition annually in the united states. Heat stroke is not just about being a little overheated. It is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
Watermelon, which is mostly water and contains electrolytes can help negate the effects of the heat in the summertime and potentially reduce the risk of suffering heat stroke. If someone looks like they aren’t handling the heat well, offer them some watermelon. If they appear to be suffering from the symptoms of heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.
11. Reduces Your Risk of Developing Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a condition that is suspected of affecting anywhere from 20-25% of the population. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, infection and has even been connected to other health conditions such as heart disease.
Proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are your primary tools against periodontal disease, but adequate amounts of vitamin C in the diet has been shown to inhibit the development or worsening of the disease. Watermelon is a great source of vitamin C. Sink those teeth into a slice of watermelon to keep your smile healthy and bright.
12. Digestive Aid
So many of us go through the day not taking the time to drink enough water, so that we are in a perpetual state of mild dehydration. You might not really notice it because you are not necessarily thirsty, however you might suffer from mild, chronic health side effects like headaches, fatigue and uncomfortable constipation.
Your digestive system need water to help digest foods and push them through. You also need fiber to help with this process. Watermelon contains both, making it a perfect digestive treat. For something extra special, try infusing a cup of water with chunks of watermelon and fresh mint to feel super refreshed while soothing your digestive system.
13. Watermelon Aid The Kidney
During the average day, you are exposed to countless toxins. Some of them come from the foods you eat or the air outside. More come from unsuspected places inside your own home or workplace. Regardless of their source, your kidneys do a lot of work to keep you healthy by eliminating these toxins from your system.
Certain nutrients found in watermelon can help support the kidneys throughout this process. The two main toxin fighting nutrients in watermelon are calcium and potassium. Before heading out in the morning, fill up a bowl with fresh watermelon to nibble on throughout the day. Your kidneys will thank you for it tomorrow.
Watermelon is a delicious, nutritious treat. The next time you see a platter full of thick slices, go ahead and grab one. You have thirteen amazing reasons not to say no.