Watermelon Benefits: Reasons To Eat More Watermelon
You might love watermelon for its sweet, delicious taste and juicy, crunchy texture, but did you know that it’s healthy too? It’s delicious mixed into salads with feta or by the slice at a BBQ, but watermelon is more than that.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at some fun facts about watermelon and a few reasons you should eat more.
Fast Facts About Watermelon
Before we dive into the health benefits of watermelon, let’s look at a few of the things that make this delicious, refreshing fruit so special. This section will look at how watermelon got its name, how long it takes to grow, and what parts of the fruit are edible.
What Percent of Watermelon Is Water?
Everyone knows that hydration is important. Although you might instinctively reach for your water bottle when you’re feeling thirsty, you could also grab a slice of watermelon.
Seeing as it is 92% water, watermelon can help you stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat or after exercising. Considering watermelon’s high water content, it’s no wonder how this tasty fruit got its name. In fact, the word watermelon first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615.
Your body needs water to regulate temperature, for your organs to function properly, and so that nutrients are delivered to all of your cells. If you’re not properly hydrated, you might feel tired and less alert and notice that your skin looks drier. Eating watermelon and other foods that naturally contain water is an easy and tasty way to stay hydrated.
Watermelons Take About Three Months To Grow
It is thought that watermelons were first domesticated over 4,000 years ago in Africa. The first recorded watermelon harvest happened in Egypt, where watermelons were depicted in hieroglyphics on the walls of their ancient buildings.
Although our watermelons today might look slightly different from the first domesticated versions of the fruit, they share something in common. They can’t stand cold weather. It takes watermelons about three months to grow. To have a successful watermelon harvest, there can’t be one cool night for that entire three-month stretch.
Is Watermelon Rind Edible?
You might have heard not to eat the watermelon seeds, but what about the rind? Although the crunchy green rind is often discarded, the rind is actually edible. Much like their cousin, the cucumber, you can and should eat the entire watermelon for all its incredible health benefits.
The rind of watermelon contains citrulline, which may give you a boost while working out by improving oxygen delivery to your muscles. It might help reduce muscle soreness the day after a workout, too. This amino acid may also be able to lower your blood pressure and promote healthy blood flow.
Another benefit of watermelon rind is that it’s naturally rich in fiber, so if you're having irregular bowel movements or high cholesterol, this might be the snack for you. Of course, you should speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist before making any significant changes to your diet.
Watermelons Are in the Squash Family
The squash family, scientifically known as the Cucurbitaceae or gourd family, is home to almost 965 species. One of those species is watermelon. Along with the watermelon, squash, pumpkin, zucchini, and several varieties of gourd belong to this family.
There are over 300 varieties of watermelon harvested in the United States and South America. Of this amazing variety, the most common are seeded, seedless, mini, and yellow and orange.
Reasons To Eat More Watermelon
Now that you know a bit more about watermelon, let’s look at some of the amazing health benefits of this delicious, low-fat fruit. Aside from being the perfect summertime snack, watermelon can also help you stay hydrated, is full of fiber, contains antioxidants and natural sugar, and can make your skin glow.
Watermelon Helps You Stay Hydrated
Like we said before, fresh watermelon is 92% water making it a great choice for anyone looking to stay hydrated. Another great reason to make watermelon your snack of choice when you’re hungry is that it has a low calorie density. In other words, there are very few calories in watermelon relative to its weight.
Given that watermelon has such a low calorie density (and it’s low in carbs), it can help you manage a weight loss program. Eating foods with a relatively low number of calories can help you feel full for longer, which might help you resist the urge to snack between meals, potentially helping with weight management.
Melons Are Packed With Fiber
Melons are packed with fiber, a key to proper digestion. Fiber helps keep your bowel movements regular by bulking up your stool and acting as a brush in your digestive system.
Fiber is also an integral part of your digestive system because it can act as a fuel source for probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacteria are “good” bacteria that live in your gut and aid your digestive and immune systems. You can incorporate both fiber and probiotic bacteria into your diet by drinking Watermelon Jalapeño tepache, a fermented beverage with both probiotic and prebiotic properties.
It is important to consume prebiotics such as dietary fiber when you are taking or eating probiotics because probiotic bacteria need a fuel source. Like any living organism, the “good” bacteria in your gut need food to survive. Fiber can pass through your system to your gut without being broken down. Once in your gut, it becomes fuel for probiotic bacteria.
Watermelon Contains Lots of Antioxidants
Watermelon also contains plenty of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, lycopene, arginine, L-citrulline, and cucurbitacin E. Antioxidants are compounds that help your body fight free radicals. If free radicals accumulate in your body, they can cause harmful conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Along with helping your body fight disease, antioxidants can help lower inflammation and oxidative cell damage while supporting heart health.
Watermelon Contains Plenty of Nutrients
Yes, watermelon contains lots of antioxidants, but the benefits don’t stop there. Watermelon is also high in several other nutrients and electrolytes, including:
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin B6
Some of these nutrients are beneficial for supporting eye health, promoting healthy blood vessels, and much more.
Watermelon Adds Natural Sweetness to Drinks
Another important benefit of this heart-healthy fruit is that it acts as a natural sweetener in drinks such as tepache. It is generally recommended that you avoid as much added sugar as possible because it adds extra calories to your diet without offering any nutritional benefits.
What’s more, drinking beverages like soda, lemonade, and sweet tea that contain lots of added sugar can lead to several potentially dangerous health problems. These problems include:
- Weight gain: Although there is no single cause for weight gain and obesity, eating excessive sugar can contribute to the problem. Given that artificially sweetened foods often contain lots of calories but don’t make you feel full, they can make it easy to overeat.
- Tooth decay: Added sugar promotes tooth decay because sugars allow bacteria to multiply and grow in your mouth.
- Increased triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your bloodstream and fat tissue. When you eat foods with lots of added sugar, you might be at risk of raising your triglyceride levels, putting you at risk for heart disease.
- Poor nutrition: Generally speaking, foods with added sugars tend to have less important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Watermelon Makes Your Skin Glow
If you’re looking for a simple way to get your skin glowing, watermelon might be the answer. Watermelon naturally contains vitamins A and C, which can improve skin health. Vitamin A helps your body create and repair skin cells which are especially important as you get older.
Vitamin C aids your body in collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps your skin and hair stay strong and healthy. You might also be able to reduce wrinkling and dry skin by incorporating more vitamin C into your diet.
Also, since watermelon contains so much water, it can help your skin look more hydrated. Dehydrated skin often appears dull and may be itchy. If your skin is dehydrated, your complexion may appear uneven, and the fine lines on your skin may be more noticeable. Drinking water and eating healthy snacks that contain water, such as watermelon, are easy ways to stay hydrated and help support healthy skin.
Watermelons are a tasty and nutritious fruit. Aptly named, watermelons contain about 92% water and can therefore keep you hydrated and help your skin stay healthy.
Thought to have originated in Africa more than 4,000 years ago, watermelon today is a member of the squash family, and there are over 300 types of watermelon harvested in the USA. Although it takes almost three months to harvest a watermelon, they are absolutely worth the wait! You can eat both the skin and rind of a watermelon to make full use of all the nutrients and antioxidants this fruit has to offer, as well as drinking watermelon juice.
Watermelons are full of fiber that can serve as a fuel source for the probiotic bacteria in your gut and give your digestive system a boost. Given that they are naturally sweet and delicious, watermelons also make a great natural sweetener in beverages such as tepache.
So instead of instinctually grabbing a soda or lemonade, try a Watermelon Jalapeño tepache for a nutritious, tasty drink that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims | NIH/PMC
The wonders of watermelon | Mayo Clinic Health System
Numerous Health Benefits Found in Summer-Favorite Watermelon | USDA
Bioactive Compounds in Watermelon Modulating Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Elders| ClinicalTrials.gov