Watermelon is my absolute go-to summer fruit. I love starting my day with it or just munching on some slices by the beach. It is naturally hydrating and a rich source of heart healthy nutrients, such as Vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, lycopene, and beta-carotene. These vitamins provide powerful antioxidant protection from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Another great fact about watermelon is that it’s ONLY 49 calories per cup so you can eat up without having to worry about adding on too many calories.
9 Health Benefits of Watermelon
- Improves Heart Health: Watermelon is high in phytonutrient lycopene, which is what gives the fruit its vibrant red color. Lycopene is also a powerful antioxidant. Studies have indicated that lycopene intake from fruits can lower the risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Watermelon is also high in Vitamin C, which is linked to reducing the risk for heart disease.
- Anti-Inflammatory: The antioxidants (lycopene, Vitamin A, C) found in watermelon increase its anti-inflammatory powers. In recent years, studies have shown inflammation to be a root of many diseases.
- Decreases Bloating: Watermelon is made up of about 90% water. Foods that have a high water content help the body rid itself of excess water which is linked to bloating.
- Improves Eyesight: Watermelon is rich in beta- carotene, the form of vitamin A found in plants. Beta-carotene is widely known to support eye health.
- Prevents Kidney Stones: Foods high in potassium cleanse the body from built up waste from the blood, helping to prevent kidney stones.
- Supports Weight Loss: Watermelon is very low in calories due to its high water content. It is only 49 calories per cup which makes it an ideal breakfast, snack or even dessert.
- Improves Digestion: Like most fruit, watermelon contains fiber, which helps keep the digestive tract moving smoothly.
- Cancer Prevention: According to the National Cancer Institute, the lycopene in watermelon has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation. Watermelon also contains Vitamins C and A, which can help fight free radical damage and potentially stop DNA from harmfully mutating.
- Relieves Muscle Soreness: A 2013 study found watermelon juice to warrant high bioavailability of amino acid L-citrulline, which is known for enhancing athletic performance and give muscles more access to oxygen helping them to repair faster post-workout. I like to blend a couple of slices of watermelon and ice in my blender and drink it before working out to prevent next day soreness.
Sources: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, AgResearch Magazine, Dr. Axe, National Cancer Institute