Watermelon is probably my favorite piece of fruit. It's cold, naturally sweet, quenches my thirst, and they aren't expensive.
There are many benefits to consuming watermelon.
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- Fighting free radicals
- Supports a healthy heart
- A great source of energy and water
- Supports weight loss
- Improves digestion
- Reduces how severe your asthma attack is
Protecting nerve function, eradicating inflammation, balancing your pH levels, reducing the risk of developing paradontal disease, and improving your kidney health are all benefits from eating watermelon.
You see there are a lot of benefits to eating watermelon, but how much should we be eating?
Nutritional Information of Watermelon
Watermelon is awesome. It's refreshing, low in calories, and very rich in water. In fact, it's 92 percent water.
Watermelons are native to tropical Africa, but watermelons are grown commercially in the U.S. in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California where the weather is warm and conducive to a long growing season.
The thick rind ranged from solid green, green striped, or even mottled with white. They are round or oval shaped and can weigh 30 pounds. The flesh is pinkish-red, crisp, and have black seeds throughout.
There are also seedless hybrids and personal-sized melons.
- Serving Size - 1 cup
- Calories - 46
- Total Fat - 0.2g
- Cholesterol - 0mg
- Sodium - 2mg
- Potassium - 171.21mg
- Carbohydrates - 11.6g
- Sugars - 9.5g
- Protein - 0.9g
- Vitamin A - 18% of your recommended daily value
- Vitamin C - 21% of your recommended daily value
- Calcium - 1% of your recommended daily value
- Iron - 2% of your recommended daily value
Since watermelon has so much water in it, it's a great source of hydration.
What About the Carbohydrates and Sugars?
So there are 11 net grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup of watermelon.
Half of the sugar in a watermelon is fructose. One quarter is glucose, and less than one quarter is sucrose. The rest of the minor fractions are made up of other sugars.
Watermelon's glycemic index is 76. This is relatively high.
This means that it could give you a faster rise in blood sugar than a food with a lower glycemic index. Watermelon's glycemic load, on the other hand, takes into account how much you eat per serving.
A glycemic load under 10 is considered low.
A wedge of watermelon is about 1/16th of a watermelon and has a glycemic load of 6. A half cup of chopped watermelon is 1.5.
While eating a whole watermelon may not be best for you, you can add watermelon into your diet in moderate amounts and benefit from consuming them.
What About Fats and Protein?
Just like cantaloupe or honeydew, watermelon doesn't really have any fat.
The fat in watermelon is evenly split between saturated, monosaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
In a dietary sense, you could consider watermelon as a non-fat food. Their seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Watermelon has such little protein that you can't really consider this a protein source.
Interesting Fact: Some companies are starting to produce watermelon seed protein by sprouting and shelling the seeds. Unfortunately, you couldn't get that level of protein from fresh seeds.
Watermelon Is Full of Micronutrients
A fully ripe watermelon will contain more nutrients than a less-ripe watermelon.
They are a great source of vitamin C and A - providing a pretty decent percentage of your daily requirement. One cup of watermelon will provide about 7 percent of your daily needs of copper and pantothenic acid. You'll also get 5 percent of biotin, 4 percent of vitamin B1 and B6; making this a great source of each.
Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon
Before we get these people who complain that watermelon is high in sugars... Let's go over some other benefits of eating watermelon.
Pro Tip: The sugars in watermelon are natural sources, not added and highly-processed. Learn the difference.
Watermelon is full of antioxidants.
Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that research has shown it to be possibly effective for controlling high blood pressure. Tomatoes are known for having a lot of lycopene, but a fully-ripe watermelon has more than that.
You can find significant amounts of citrulline in watermelon. You can find citrulline sold as a nutritional supplement for sports performance.
While the benefits of citrulline are not conclusive, there are studies showing that citrulline could help reduce the feeling of fatigue while exercising.
Keeps You Hydrated
Watermelon is 92 percent water.
Fruits and veggies with a high water content are filling and keep you full.
The combination of water and fiber means you get a solid amount of volume without many calories.
Helps Prevent Cancer
Some compounds found in watermelon may have anti-cancer effects.
Lycopene and cucurbitacin E are both studied for their potential cancer prevention properties.
Lycopene's strongest link so far seems to be with the cancers of the digestive system. It lowers your insulin-like growth factor. This is a protein that is involved in cell division.
A high insulin-like growth factor has been linked to cancer. Cucurbitacin E is being studied for its ability to inhibit tumor growth.
Improves Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide.
Many lifestyle factors including diet and exercise can lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Lycopene has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps prevent oxidative damage to cholesterol. Lycopene has been shown to reduce the stiffness and thickness of artery walls.
Lastly, vitamins A, B6, C, magnesium, and potassium all are great for your heart.
Lowers Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Inflammation is the key driver for many chronic diseases.
A 2015 study fed rats watermelon powder to supplement an unhealthy diet. Comparing them to the control group, they developed lower levels of C-reactive protein and less oxidative stress. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation.
Lycopene may also help delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Helps with Macular Degeneration
Lycopene again coming into play for our eye health.
Since lycopene protects against oxidative damage and inflammation, it helps prevent age-related macular degeneration - a common eye problem that can cause blindness in older adults.
Lycopene may help prevent this degeneration from developing and getting worse.
Improves Skin and Hair
Vitamins A and C are great for skin and hair health.
Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, the protein that keeps your skin supple and your hair strong. Vitamin A is also important for healthy skin since it helps create and repair skin cells.
Your skin will look dry and flaky without enough vitamin A.
Lycopene and beta-carotene have also been shown to protect your skin from sunburns.
Frequently Asked Questions About Watermelon
If you've had other people get you watermelon, there are a few things you are probably wondering about when picking out your own.
I Thought This Was a Seedless Watermelon? What's Up With the White Seeds?
The white seeds in your seedless watermelon are actually undeveloped seeds. That's what the seeds look like before they mature and grow into the black seeds you are used to.
They are safe to eat.
Is it Safe to Eat the Rind?
You could eat the watermelon whole - black seeds included.
The rind is a unique flavor; many don't care for it. You can pickle, stew, or stir-fry your rind for a different twist.
How Do You Know if a Watermelon is Ripe?
Picking out a ripe watermelon can be hard. I still am unsure about them.
If you're ever in doubt, you can ask your store to help you choose a ripe one. Another option is to find an older person in the produce department. They somehow know just by looking and tapping on one.
Is your watermelon heavy for its size? Does the outside feel firm and free of nicks or dents?
There will be a part that is a creamy yellow or white color. This is where the melon was resting on the ground. It's the butt of the watermelon. You want a creamy yellow color, not white.
How Should I Store My Watermelon?
Fresh, uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature. The heat causes the flesh to dry out, so you really should keep your watermelon cool or put in the fridge.
Uncut watermelon can be stored for two to three weeks in the fridge.
Wrapping It Up
Watermelon is a healthy fruit. It's high in water content and is a great source of nutrients.
Watermelon is a low-calorie treat and should be included in your healthy diet.