Watermelon was originated from southern African countries and from where it spread to rest of the tropical and subtropical regions. After a couple of weeks of seedling, plant bears many yellow flowers that may require honeybees for pollination.
Externally, the fruit features smooth, deep green or yellow color thick exterior rind with light-green or gray colored vertical stripes all over its outer surface. Internally, its flesh is juicy, pink, red, or yellow with numerous small black seeds embedded in the middle-third portion of the flesh.
Watermelon has neutral flavor, and its taste somewhat described as plain-sweet water (light sugar syrup). Its flesh is soft yet crunchy unlike soft, creamy texture of muskmelons.
Nutrition Facts of Watermelon
One cup of diced watermelon (152 grams) contains 43 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2 grams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrate (including 9 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of fiber. One cup of watermelon will provide 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron and 1% of calcium needs for the day.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
The health benefits of watermelon include the prevention of kidney disorders, high blood pressure, the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, heat stroke, macular degeneration and impotence.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits
Watermelon’s high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study at Purdue University. Also, the fruit’s concentrations of citrulline and arginine are good for your heart. Arginine can help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults.
2. Cancer Prevention
Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation, according to the National Cancer Institute.
3. Reduces Body Fat
Watermelon is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol, all of which aid weight loss. One important component in watermelon that helps with weight loss is a compound called citrulline.
This compound metabolizes into the essential amino acid arginine that helps reduce the rate at which the body stores fat and improves cardiovascular functioning, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Containing more than 90 percent water, watermelon also fills you up quickly and helps control over eating. This summer, replace high-calorie snacks or desserts with watermelon.
Watermelons are the perfect example of a food that can help you stay hydrated. Their water content can help keep you hydrated, and their juice is full of good electrolytes. This can even help prevent heat stroke.
5. Kidney Disorders
Watermelons contain a lot of potassium, which is very helpful in cleaning or washing out the toxic depositions in the kidneys. Moreover, it is helpful in reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood, thereby reducing the chances of kidney damage and the formation of renal calculi in that organ. Added to this, being high in water content, it induces frequent urinating, which is again helpful for cleaning of the kidneys. Also, the anti oxidants present in watermelon ensure good health of the kidneys for a long time, and reduce signs of premature aging like wrinkles and age spots on the skin.
6. Improves Eye Health
Watermelon is extremely good for your eyes. Being an excellent source of beta-carotene that is converted in the body to vitamin A, watermelon helps maintain eye health.
Vitamin A along with lycopene helps produce the pigments in the eye’s retina and provides protection against macular degeneration, night blindness and other age-related eye problems.
Plus, watermelon has vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin that are essential to keep your eyes healthy and free from different types of infections. Eating one cup of watermelon daily is recommended for your overall vision health.
7. Skin and Hair Benefits
Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your daily recommended intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.
8. Rich in Antioxidant
Watermelon is a storehouse of powerful antioxidants that help keep you healthy and free from many diseases. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids like lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.
These antioxidants protect your body against free radicals that can cause inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, strokes and heart attacks.
Watermelon can also minimize skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) sun rays and protect your skin from many harmful and toxic air pollutants. This can have a huge impact in preventing pre-mature aging.
Also, the vitamin C present in watermelon helps strengthen immunity to better protect your body from seasonal allergies and common infections. To maximize the antioxidant benefits of watermelon, make sure to pick ripe watermelons and eat them fresh. Alone or in a fruit salad or in juice form, do not forget to include watermelon in your diet to enjoy its many health benefits.
9. Improves Your Sex Life
Improved circulation can benefit more than just the heart, as at least one watermelon researcher has pointed out. But you’d probably have to eat an awful lot to achieve the desired effect–and eating too much could cause unfortunate side effects, since watermelon has long had a reputation as a natural diuretic.
10. Makes Your Brain Sharper
Vitamin B6, a nutrient present in watermelons is really good for your brain. This makes it especially good for young students who spend most of their time studying.
11. Relieves Muscle Soreness
Watermelon-loving athletes are in luck: drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce next-day muscle soreness and heart rate, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This can be attributed to watermelon’s amino acids citrulline and arginine, which help improve circulation.
12. Improves Mood
Watermelon can also improve your mood. It is high in vitamin B6, an essential nutrient that is important in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters responsible for calming mood.
Plus, its high vitamin C content protects the body against free radicals. Free-radical damage contributes to cognitive decline, irritability and depression. Watermelon also helps balance hormones, which can affect your mood when out of balance.
By eating a few slices of this fruit daily, you can lift your mood, reduce stress, and combat depression and anxiety.
How to Select and Store Watermelons
Although watermelons can be grown in all the seasons under tropical environments, they are at their best during summer months. In the markets, try to buy organically grown melons since they are richer in taste and nutrients.
Oftentimes, it is difficult to judge ripeness and taste without checking a wedge section of the melon. Look for one that is heavy for its size featuring rind that is relatively smooth, neither overly shiny nor overly dull, without any cuts or bruises on its surface which might have occurred during transportation.
Once at home, place the fruit in cool, well-ventilated place. The cut sections, however, should be kept inside the refrigerator.