6 important reasons to have watermelon (whole or juice)
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 12, 2020
When it comes to refreshing beverages, there are very few natural drinks that can compare with watermelon juice. The watermelon plant is from the Cucurbitaceae family and loaded with beneficial plant compounds that make it extremely healthy. It consists of 92% water, which is why it is so refreshing, especially during the summertime. What makes it even better is that it is completely fat-free and low in calories too, making it a great go-to option for those who are health conscious. Additionally, it is loaded with vitamins and amino acids, all of which are essential for optimal body function.
In fact, studies have found that the known watermelon benefits go beyond those that you obtain by simply consuming the flesh. The seeds of the watermelon were also found to be exceptionally nutritious, whether shelled or sprouted.
To highlight the value of this fruit, here are a few watermelon nutrition facts, as for 154g of watermelon.
- Energy: 46.2 calories
- Carbohydrates: 11.6g
- Fibre: 0.6g
- Vitamin C: 12.5mg
- Vitamin A, RAE: 43.1mcg
- Calcium: 10.8mg
- Potassium: 172mg
- Phosphorus: 16.9mg
- Magnesium: 15.4mg
- Folate: 4.6 mcg, DFE
- Choline: 6.3mg
This watermelon nutrition chart clearly shows how healthy the fruit is, even with as little a single cup. For more information, here is a detailed breakdown of various benefits of eating watermelon.
Owing to the fact that watermelon is 92% water content, it comes as no surprise that the fruit is effective at rehydration. Further, watermelon is also rich in electrolytes like potassium, which are key to you maintaining a good fluid balance and optimal body function. To illustrate further, potassium is the electrolyte responsible for determining the amount of water within cells. Naturally, a lack of potassium will cause an imbalance within the cells, which can lead to dehydration and cells swelling or exploding. Moreover, dehydration affects the kidneys and then the heart, which is why getting enough potassium is important.
Reduces blood pressure
Studies have found that the antioxidant lycopene, found in watermelon, could protect against heart disease and lower your blood pressure. This in addition to the fact it may also reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. What’s more, citrulline increases nitric oxide levels, and nitric oxide is known to help expand constricted blood vessels and thus, lower blood pressure. Another plant compound contained in watermelon, phytosterol, may help reduce LDL cholesterol and studies also indicate that reducing bad cholesterol can help prevent high blood pressure.
Serves as a diuretic
The function of diuretics is mainly to help the body flush out excess salt and water from the system. This is required for some, for instance, persons suffering from health conditions like kidney problems or high blood pressure. Watermelon is a natural diuretic and is helpful in ridding the body of excess fluid in a way that does not strain the kidneys. In fact, when compared to furosemide (a diuretic), watermelon’s diuretic effect was found to be comparable by a mouse study. However, even with this study, and research backing watermelon’s diuretic prowess, it is important to remember that is not advisable to ever substitute prescription diuretics with watermelon without your doctor’s consent.
Minimises muscle soreness
Feeling muscle soreness after an intense workout or strain is normal, but consuming amino acids may aid you make a swift recovery. Watermelon is a good source of one such amino acid known as citrulline, which has a few studies backing its ability to reduce muscle soreness. Moreover, among the many health benefits of watermelon, it was found that the fruit enhances the absorption of citrulline within the body, making it that much more effective. In fact, another study found that mixing citrulline with watermelon juice had desirable effects, namely, quicker heart rate recovery and reduced muscle soreness.
Keeps oxidative stress and inflammation in check
Both lycopene and vitamin C are key anti-inflammatory antioxidants and keeping inflammation in check is important to you avoiding several chronic diseases. Antioxidants work as agents that neutralises free radicals (substances that can cause oxidative stress) and that’s not all, watermelon also contains choline. Choline keeps chronic inflammation in check, which is known to cause damage to DNA, internal scarring, and tissue death as it gets worse.
Digestion is an important part of optimal body function and an important nutrient to this process is fibre. Now, fibre and water are nutrients available in watermelon and these help with digestion immensely. Firstly, fibre adds bulk to your stool and secondly, the water in watermelon keeps your digestive tract moving. These are both key to normal bowel function and can help you steer clear of nasty health complications like constipation.
Given all these watermelon health benefits, there is no good reason for you to skip consuming this nutritious fruit. Moreover, it serves as a great snack that you can have either whole or as a juice. In fact, watermelon is quite a common ingredient in many popular refreshing beverages and can even be tossed into salads.
However, despite the many watermelon juice benefits, it is important to consider that the fruit is high in natural sugar content. As such, there are risks to those who are sensitive to it, like diabetics. In addition to this, it may also act as an allergen, increasing the chances of a reaction. Remember, these can be quite deadly, so it’s better to consult your dietician beforehand, especially if you are sick and trying watermelon as a treatment.
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