Friday, May 24, 2024

Top 10 Health Benefits of Watermelon – N.F Times

Watermelon is an abundant source of many useful nutrients including lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, and it offers several health benefits.

1. Helps in hydration

About 100 g or 1 cup of watermelon provides 91.4 g of water; thus, consuming it is a very effective way to increase your daily water consumption. Moreover, due to its high water density, watermelon is a low-calorie fruit that is useful in maintaining weight.

It is important to note that people suffering from kidney diseases and those who need to keep their water intake under check must consult their doctor before including a high-water-content fruit in their diet.

2. Aids in weight maintenance

According to one study, weight reduction can be achieved by consuming foods that are classified as low-density. They are typically those foods that have a low calorie and high water content.

Watermelon, categorized as a low-density food due to its high water content, can help you easily achieve satiety and fullness. This, in turn, reduces your chance of overeating, consequently helping in overall weight reduction.

3. Controls blood sugar

Watermelon is rich in lycopene, a phenolic compound that imparts the fruit its distinct red colour and has been shown to reduce free glucose in the blood. This effect is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes as it will help in blood sugar management.

However, it is important not to eat more than 1–2 servings of the fruit as it has high sugar content.

Watermelon also contains vitamin C, which reduces free radical damage that commonly occurs in diabetics.

4. Prevents cardiovascular diseases

A crossover design study found that watermelon consumption significantly reduced lipid markers (including cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol).

Additionally, citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, may also reduce the buildup of fatty plaque in blood vessels called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaques along the sides of blood vessels can cause the narrowing of the arteries, leading to diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

5. Reduces the severity of asthma

Studies show that asthma is caused by the presence of free radicals in the body. Several review studies found that consuming lycopene-rich foods, such as watermelon, reduced oxidative stress. It also helped reduce symptoms of asthma including airway smooth muscle contraction and mucus hypersecretion.

6. Preserves dental health

Watermelon’s vitamin C content can help prevent the development of gingivitis, a serious dental disease.

Vitamin C has also been closely linked to periodontal disease, where a study has shown that this vitamin reduces the inflammation and bleeding that occurs in the condition.

7. Fights inflammation

The antioxidants present in watermelon, including beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin A, generally have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

In one study, watermelon reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as oxidative stress in rats. These effects consequently reduced inflammation.

8. Protects nerve function

Watermelon contains magnesium and potassium, which are natural electrolytes. Potassium controls how well nerves function in the body and improves their conduction activity.

In one study, dietary potassium was suggested to play a protective function for the nerves.

9. Aids in digestion

Watermelon is abundantly rich in water and contains some fibre, much like most other fruits. Fibre provides bulk to the stool and water helps with its easy movement along the digestive tract.

A recent review also showed the potential of fibre to change the gut microflora (microorganisms present in the gut) to positively impact metabolism.

Furthermore, in a study done on diabetic mice, the consumption of watermelon juice showed a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It also induced changes in the gut microflora.

10. Improves athletic performance

Citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, is effective in reducing muscle soreness. The water content helps in hydrating the muscles and washing away the accumulated lactic acid formed in the muscle post-exercise.

Nutritional Content of Watermelon

One cup (145 g) of watermelon gives about 140 g of water. It has 43.12 mcg of vitamin A, contributing 5% of the daily value, along with 466.62 mcg of beta carotene.

The lycopene content sits at around 6,979.28 mcg. It also has 11/63 g of carbohydrates with 0.62 g of fibre. The magnesium content in watermelon is 15.40 mcg and potassium is 172.48, both minerals contributing 4% of the daily value.

With only 0.94 g of protein, watermelon has a weak amino acid profile.

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