Watermelon is a versatile and delicious summer treat that you can eat by itself, in a fruit salad, or even blended into delicious drinks. But the versatility doesn’t end here. Watermelon has also been used as medicine to treat or prevent a variety of ailments for centuries.
Apart from being full of flavor, watermelon is also full of minerals, vitamins, and a whole host of components that make it very efficient at enriching the body with essential nutrients. Here are just some of the ways that watermelon can help you find health and happiness, and the nutrients responsible!
In traditional Chinese medicine, people have used watermelon for clearing heat from the body – cooling the blood and internal organs. It is often used to treat prickly heat, thanks to its juiciness and cooling properties (1). Additionally, excess internal heat can be an indication of something a little more serious such as inflammation, a precursor to chronic autoimmune diseases (3), so a cooling and soothing of this heat could be hugely beneficial.
Hydration and Water Content
Due to its high water content, around 91.5 percent (2), watermelon certainly lives up to its name! Not only does this mean it’s fantastic at keeping you hydrated, particularly in the summer heat, but it also promotes urination. This aids in the cooling of the body, as previously discussed.
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In addition to this, eating watermelon aids the liver in its processing of ammonia (waste from protein digestion). This eases any strain on the kidneys (8). These diuretic properties also make watermelon effective at reducing the effects of edema – a condition where excess water gets trapped in the body’s tissues, typically gathering in ankles, feet, hands, and arms (9).
Boosting Anti-Oxidant Levels
Watermelon’s red color comes from its high lycopene content. Research has shown watermelon contains more lycopene than raw tomatoes (4) making it an excellent source of this essential chemical and one which you should include in your diet.
Why is lycopene so important? The antioxidant has been shown in preliminary research to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even breast and prostate cancers (5). Further, some research even suggested that lycopene intake lead to an increase in the concentration of sperm in men with infertility (5).
Watermelon is very high in beta-carotene. This is essential to eye health as our bodies convert it into vitamin A, which helps to protect against age-related macular degeneration, as well as preventing night blindness (9).
If you include all age groups, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans (6). Watermelon, thankfully, has a great solution – a healthy dose of citrulline which is great news for your heart. The highest concentration of this amino acid can be found in the white rind surrounding the flesh of the fruit (10), so don’t throw this part away!
According to research, the amino acid arginine (which is what your body converts the citrulline to) can promote healthy blood pressure levels, and prevent the deterioration of blood vessels’ flexibility and ability to dilate due to endothelial dysfunction (3).
Additionally, arginine has even been shown to help facilitate the healing of wounds (10)!
Keeping you Happy
Watermelon contains a good dose of Vitamin B6, which your body can use in a number of ways. For example, the production of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can help with stress-relief (12), dopamine, and serotonin – the happy chemical in the brain (11).
Getting enough watermelon in your diet helps keep both your body and your mind happy!
You’ll never spit the seeds out again when you realize just how beneficial eating them can be. Not only are they packed full of fiber, helping you keep a healthy bowel, but they are rich in protein and low in fat (7).
Watermelon seeds are also really rich in the mineral magnesium. This is essential for everyone to maintain metabolic functions, such as nerve and muscle function, as well as lending a helping hand to bone, immune, and heart health.
Keeping you Fighting Fit
Watermelon can help you not only treat a variety of ailments but to actively prevent them before they develop to dangerous levels. By feeding your body on a variety of minerals and vitamins, including those found in watermelons, you are giving it a wonderful base from which it can grow and develop healthily and happily.
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