What are Watermelons?
The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) ranges in size from a few pounds to upward of 90 pounds/40 kilograms. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin, and other plants that grow on vines on the ground.
The watermelon most commonly consumed is round, oblong, or spherical in shape and light to dark green in color, with white stripes or mottling. Its ﬂesh is bright red, and it has dark brown or black seeds. The ﬂesh may also be pink, orange, yellow, or white; the seeds can be brown, white, green, or yellow; and a few varieties are actually seedless.
History of Watermelons
Watermelons are native to the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa. The ﬁrst recorded watermelon crop was found in Egypt, as it was depicted in hieroglyphics on tomb walls dating back as far as 3000 B.C.E. Being held in such high regard, watermelons were left as food to nourish the dead in the afterlife. From Egypt, watermelons spread throughout countries along the Mediterranean Sea by way of merchants.
They were documented in China in the tenth century, and in the thirteenth century they were introduced to the rest of Europe by the Moors. Ultimately, the watermelon crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made its way to North America with the African slaves.
It wasn’t until 1615, however, that the word “watermelon” ﬁrst appeared in the English dictionary. Presently, the Russian Federation grows much of the commercial supply of watermelon. People there even make a very popular wine of watermelons. The other world watermelon- producing leaders are China, Turkey, Iran, and the United States.
Varieties Of Watermelon
The seedless watermelon was created in the 1990s. It is one of the most common types of watermelon, and you have probably seen it at the local supermarket. The trick in creating this type of watermelon was maintaining the same sweetness as seeded varieties but making sure the seeds were underdeveloped and therefore easily edible. On the other hand, picnic watermelons are a bit larger than the seedless variety. Picnic watermelons are arguably the most common type of watermelon available today, as they exhibit the traditional oblong shape, green rind, and sweet red flesh.
A less commonly known watermelon includes the yellow/orange variety, named appropriately so for its round shape and yellow to orange color. This type of watermelon comes as both seeded and seedless, including Desert King, Yellow Doll, Yellow Baby, and Tendergold.
Interesting Facts Of Watermelon
Archeologists have found watermelon seeds and remnants of other fruits at 5,000-year-old settlements in Libya. Seeds are one thing, but finding pieces of the actual fruit is another, which is much more unlikely. Fortunately, historians have found paintings of watermelons in Egyptian tombs that date back almost 4,000 years ago. Would you like to learn how I lost 30 pounds in two months? Read my Nutri-system review here!
In fact, one of those tombs was actually the infamous King Tut’s tomb, which had a painting depicting a red, oblong watermelon rather than the ancient round fruit common at the time. One reason why ancient civilizations kept paintings as well as real watermelons in their tombs was because of the water source that the fruit provided.
When Egyptian pharaohs died, it was believed they had a long journey ahead of them and therefore needed energy and water that the watermelon could provide in the afterlife. Watermelon did not always have its famous red hue on the inside; instead, ripe watermelon used to have an almost yellowish interior, sometimes even orange!
As time passed and farmers began cultivating the fruit for specific purposes, watermelon began to take on its familiar red color. Such a change occurred because the gene for the red color is actually paired with the gene that determines the sugar content and therefore the sweetness of the fruit. As people bred watermelons to become sweeter instead of bitter, they caused the color of the fruit to change as well.
Nutritional Highlights for Watermelons
Watermelon has an extremely high water content, approximately 92 percent. It is very low in calories, with one cup (154 grams) of watermelon containing only 48 calories, yet is still a very good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene. In fact, one cup of watermelon provides 19.5 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and, through its beta-carotene, 13.9 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamins B 1 and B 6, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, potassium, and dietary ﬁber.
Watermelon consists mostly of water (91%) and carbs (7.5%). It contains almost no protein or fat, and is very low in calories. The table below contains information on all the main nutrients in watermelon.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.15 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.4 g||1%|
|Vitamins||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Pantothenic acid||0.221 mg||4.5%|
|Vitamin A||569 IU||19%|
|Vitamin C||8.1 mg||13.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.05 mg||0.5%|
|Electrolytes||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Minerals||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Phyto-nutrients||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
Contains Nutrients and Beneficial Plant Compounds
As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries. A cup (154 grams) of watermelon has many other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI
Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.
Here’s an overview of watermelon’s most important antioxidants:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals.
Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.
Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.
Watermelon is a moderate source of energy. It is low in calories with a 100 grams serving of this fruit providing just 30 calories while one cup of diced watermelon provides 46 calories. Bulk of the watermelon comprises of water.
Watermelon contains 7.5 grams of carbs in 100 grams, or 12 grams of carbs per cup. The carbs are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose. Watermelon also contains a small amount of fiber. The glycemic index of watermelons ranges from 72-80, which is high. It is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels after meals. However, each serving of watermelon is relatively low in carbs, so eating it should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels.
Watermelon is a poor source of fiber (0.4 grams per 100 grams). However, it is considered high in fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, referred to as FODMAPs. FODMAPs can cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in individuals who cannot digest them, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome.
Vitamins and Minerals
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, and also a decent source of several other vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant that is essential for skin health and immune function.
- Potassium: A mineral that is important for blood pressure control and heart health.
- Copper: A mineral that is most abundant in plant foods, and often lacking in the Western diet.
- Vitamin B5: Also known as pantothenic acid. This vitamin is found in almost all foods to some extent.
- Vitamin A: Watermelon contains beta-carotene, which is transformed into vitamin A in the body.
Other Plant Compounds
Watermelon is a poor source of antioxidants compared to other fruits. However, it is a good source of the amino acid citrulline, and the antioxidant lycopene, which have numerous benefits for health.
Watermelon is the richest known dietary source of the amino acid citrulline. The highest amount is found in the white rind that surrounds the flesh. In the body, citrulline is transformed into the essential amino acid arginine. Both citrulline and arginine play an important role in the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), which helps to lower blood pressure by dilating and relaxing our blood vessels.
Arginine is also important for many organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, liver, and the immune and reproductive systems, and has been shown to facilitate the healing of wounds. Studies have shown that watermelon juice is a good source of citrulline, and is able to increase blood levels of both citrulline and arginine considerably. Despite being one of the best dietary sources of citrulline, one would have to consume about 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of watermelons to meet the recommended daily intake for arginine.
Watermelon is the best known fresh source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for its red color. Lycopene is used to some extent to form beta-carotene in the body, which is converted into vitamin A. Lycopene is generally associated with tomatoes, but fresh watermelon is actually a better source of lycopene than fresh tomato. Human studies have shown that fresh watermelon juice is effective at raising blood levels of both lycopene and beta-carotene.
Health Benefits Of Watermelons
Watermelon, as its name implies, is a good source of pure water and an excellent diuretic. Because it has such a high water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits, it delivers more nutrients per calorie, which is an outstanding health beneﬁt. It is packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature, including lycopene the red carotenoid pigment that also gives tomatoes their red color.
Watermelon during Pregnancy
The question often arises as to whether it is safe to consume watermelon during pregnancy. Pregnant women require extra nutrition for themselves as well as for the growing baby. Eating watermelon provides the necessary hydration and also reduces some of the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy. This fruit is packed with vitamins A, C and B6 as well as potassium and magnesium which are vital for the development of the baby’s vision, brain, nervous and immune systems. Potassium, on the other hand, regulates water balance in the blood and body tissues during pregnancy. Proper hydration helps to prevent pregnancy fatigue and flushes out toxins. Snacking on fresh watermelon helps alleviate feelings of nausea and morning sickness experienced during pregnancy. Potassium and magnesium can alleviate muscle cramps which are caused in the third trimester of pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association recommends consumption of three servings of watermelon per day during pregnancy.
According to the “International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics”, excess consumption of foods high in lycopene like watermelon, can reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. This condition can have serious negative effects on both the mother and the child. Abundant intake of lycopene during pregnancy reduces the risk of the baby from suffering from intrauterine growth retardation. Thus, watermelon is absolutely safe for consumption during pregnancy.
Oxidative stress in humans is an unavoidable phenomenon that usually occurs due to imbalances in antioxidants. As much as we would like to ignore it, oxidative stress is inevitable; however, there are ways to reduce the effects that this process has on our body and our life. Since this type of stress is associated with DNA, protein, and membrane damage, it is very important that you eat the right foods and keep your body healthy to avoid all the damage that this can cause.
One way is to make sure you are consuming enough antioxidants. Studies have found that consuming specific fruits and fruit juices, such as watermelon and watermelon juice, can actually reduce the amount of oxidative damage because the antioxidants in those fruits have the power to scavenge the reactive oxidative species and render them harmless.
The radical scavenging is actually maintained for up to ninety minutes after the consumption of the fruit or juice, suggesting that the work of antioxidants continues long after you first consume them.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common condition seen in primary care and commonly leads to heart attacks, strokes, and other fatal diseases if untreated. Watermelon is rich in citrulline, which is an amino acid that is converted to arginine in the body. In turn, both citrulline and arginine help in the production of nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator, meaning that it helps relax and dilate your blood vessels.
When the vessels are dilated, more blood can pass freely through, leading to lower blood pressure and less of a risk for such things as stroke and cardiac infarctions. Even better, the carotenoids present in watermelon help prevent the hardening of arteries and veins, thereby also helping reduce the risk of blood clots and atherosclerosis. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with watermelon and watermelon juices can actually reduce your aortic blood pressure and may even provide cardioprotection to keep your heart healthy and working smoothly.
Reduces Insulin Resistance
When people hear “insulin,” many automatically think of diabetes, since insulin is so critical in this disease. Type 2 diabetes especially is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by hyperglycemia and developing insulin resistance. In this type of disorder, your body produces insulin, but your body’s cells become resistant to the effects of the insulin. If your cells can no longer “feel” the effect of this critical hormone, the only way to treat and/or cure the disease is to make your body’s cells less resistant.
Fortunately, many studies have been making progress in evaluating the role of functional foods on chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. In one study, obese, diabetic patients were given oral supplements of L-arginine, the amino acid that watermelon compounds are easily converted to. Compared with diet and exercise programs alone, the long-term oral L-arginine treatment had a significantly more beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Such studies give hope that more research in the area of functional foods will shine a light on the potential health benefits that these types of foods have beyond the basic nutritional profile.
Watermelon and Muscle Soreness
Many people have no doubt felt really good after working out, where you feel as if you could run a marathon! There is, however, an equally common feeling of muscle soreness several hours or so after that same workout that makes you want to flop on a couch and sleep for the rest of the day. Fortunately, scientists have been making progress in assessing natural muscle relief for athletes and those who experience pain after working out.
One of the top candidates for such a natural remedy is L-citrulline which is a newcomer to the world of nutrition, since it is only really found in one food—watermelon. Dietary supplements rich in L-citrulline have been shown to help with smooth muscle relaxation, enhance anaerobic performance, and relieve muscle soreness.
Several studies also suggest that this specific compound has the ability to accelerate lactic acid removal, which allows for better overall physical performance. Therefore, not only is watermelon and its high citrulline content beneficial for post-workout recovery, but it may also be good in pre-workout regimens since it allows for more intense training and faster recovery after each workout.
Watermelon and Kidney Disorders
Contrary to what the name may imply, there is more to watermelon than just water. In fact, watermelons actually have a very abundant supply of both calcium and potassium, each of which contributes to helping flush out the toxins in the body’s kidneys. Even better, the calcium provided by watermelon is important for regulating cell functions, maintaining cell structure, and benefiting the cell differentiation process.
Extra calcium also aids in reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood. Too much uric acid can cause hyperuricemia, which will make you very sick. By decreasing any extra amounts of this acid, the calcium and potassium in watermelon help to reduce the chances of kidney diseases. Although these two compounds are very important, we can’t forget about water, the namesake of this beneficial fruit.
Watermelon’s high water content induces frequent urination, which, once again, is always helpful in cleansing the kidneys and keeping them functioning properly. Just as drinking several glasses of water is beneficial, watermelon will provide you with an ample amount of hydration while also adding a sweet taste and delicious texture.
Watermelon and Cancer
Current research has found direct links between active food components and cancer prevention and treatment. One of the compounds most thoroughly studied is lycopene, a dietary component that seems to interfere with the numerous stages in the development of cancer. Lycopene functions in diminishing insulin growth, which is a vital step in decreasing the prevalence of cancer.
Other evidence has shown that lycopene helps with the regression of cancer by targeting and interrupting cancer cell growth, apoptosis, carcinogen metabolism, and hormone regulation. Although lycopene is found in several other foods, such as tomatoes and pink guava, it has a unique role in watermelon since this particular fruit has readily available cis-isomeric lycopene, a highly sought after form of the compound. With the incredible antioxidant potential of watermelon and the impact of lycopene as well, all factors make this amazing fruit an even better cancer-fighting food that is so easy to add to your daily diet.
Watermelon and Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease causes a great many deaths. One of the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease is cholesterol content, specifically, the low-density and high-density lipoprotein ratios. In several studies, it was found that a 10 mg/dL increase in LDL cholesterol was associated with a 12% increase in risk for CVD, demonstrating the importance of maintaining low levels of LDL cholesterol and appropriately higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
Many researchers and scientists alike agree that LDL cholesterol levels are a strong independent predictor of coronary heart disease, especially for those patients with diabetes. Consequently, the reduction of LDL ratios will further decrease one’s risk for associated heart diseases. Fortunately, the abundance of lycopene found in watermelon has been shown to be an effective compound in lowering such cholesterol levels.
In one study, scientists fed men 60 mg of lycopene per day for three months. They discovered that the men’s plasma LDL levels decreased on average by 14%. Calculations have found a 3:1 ratio between the lowering of cholesterol and reduction of risk of myocardial infarctions.
Therefore, people who consume this amount of lycopene from such products as watermelon should expect about a 30%–40% decrease in their risk for heart complications.
Watermelon and Macular Degeneration
Deteriorating eye health comes with age, but many simple and convenient measures can prevent premature eye degeneration and unfortunate eye diseases. Many studies and research have focused on the role of carotenoids and vitamins in eye health. As is commonly known, vitamin A is a primary vitamin that helps our eyes stay healthy. A deficiency of such a vital vitamin can cause macular degeneration and xerophthalmia.
Evidence has shown, however, that provitamin A carotenoids in the diet can actually prevent such consequences from occurring by eliminating reactive oxidative species. Additionally, an in vitro study on human lens epithelial cells showed that the addition of lycopene, the carotenoid found in watermelon, helped to significantly prevent the vacuolization of the epithelial cells, leading to better eye health and less risk for eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Because watermelons are rich in such carotenoids and antioxidants, they are the perfect remedy for preventing macular degeneration.
Watermelon and Erectile Dysfunction
A recent study estimated that nearly 1 in 52 men worldwide experience some degree of impotence. Based on these same estimates, it was concluded that the prevalence of this condition could double over the next twenty-five years, suggesting the importance of finding a cure for impotence. Fortunately, doctors and researchers have been studying the problem and seem to finally understand the underlying biology.
After much research and false claims over the past fifty years, doctors now know that it is the relaxation, not the stimulation of the smooth cavernous veins in the penis that cause an erection. This parasympathetic and non-cholinergic mediated process requires nitric oxide, which is synthesized from L-arginine by NO-synthase.
Since L-arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide and arginine is readily found in watermelon, we would want both together. Several studies have tested this theory about watermelon and its arginine content. One study tested forty men with impotence and treated them with L-arginine, a placebo, or a dual-therapy of L-arginine and pycnogenol. Researchers found that the L-arginine did indeed improve sexual functioning but was even more beneficial when paired with the other drug.
Watermelon and Asthma Prevention
Asthma affects nearly 9% of children and almost 7% of adults. Of this figure, about 70%–90% of people with asthma also suffer from something known as exercise-induced asthma, where any type of physical exertion leads to asthma-like symptoms. When we breathe normally, our nose clears, warms, and moistens the air around us.
On the other hand, during physical exercise, we end up breathing harder, faster, and deeper through our mouths, so the air that enters our lungs is colder and drier than usual. In people with asthma, the bronchi are highly sensitive to such dry air and might swell up as a result, leading to being unable to breathe fully—an asthma attack.
People without asthma, however, do not have bronchi in their lungs that are as sensitive and therefore do not overreact when coming in contact with cold, dry air. Studies have found that there may be a link between the consumption of certain nutrients and a person’s risk for asthma. One of the nutrients in question is ascorbic acid or vitamin C.
Many tests have been conducted to determine if vitamin C helps protect the hyperactive airways of people with exercise-induced asthma. Results are varied, so no conclusive evidence can be determined.
Although research has not found a statistically significant answer, numerous patients in such studies benefit from vitamin C treatment therapy, suggesting that although we have not found an answer yet, vitamin C might help treat or prevent asthma.
Watermelon and Digestion
One of the most common gastrointestinal problems is constipation, which is characterized by a slow gastrointestinal transit, a hard stool, and difficulty in passing stool. A number of factors can cause constipation, including medication, lack of fiber intake, poor diet, and illness, but the number one cause is usually inadequate fluid consumption.
Drinking plenty of water every day can eliminate this unfortunate and uncomfortable problem. Fluids in the diet are usually absorbed by the proximal small intestine, but when not enough fluids can be absorbed, such problems as constipation and other gastrointestinal issues can occur.
Because watermelon has both a rich water and fiber content, this juicy fruit easily helps promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Although we emphasize that there is more to watermelon than just water, the water content of this fruit is nonetheless important.
Instead of simply drinking the recommended nine to thirteen glasses of water per day, you can treat yourself to a healthy snack of sliced watermelon while also promoting your digestive health.
Helps Treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Unfortunately, doctors have come to realize that both chronic and low-grade inflammations are common causes and/or symptoms for many diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and even such muscular disorders as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
In such a disorder, there is severe muscular degeneration that leads to chronic inflammation, among other things. To help treat this disorder, researchers have taken to using the compound L-arginine to inhibit the inflammatory signaling cascade. In their studies involving Duchenne muscular dystrophy tests and L-arginine, researchers found that L-arginine did indeed decrease inflammation and increase muscle regeneration in animal models (22).
One of the key cytokines in DMD is called nuclear factor (NF) –κB levels, whose signaling seems to be interrupted in this particular muscular disorder. When L-arginine was used to treat subjects with induced DMD, the treatment also inhibited the (NF) –κB cascade, thereby promoting muscular membrane integrity and posing as a therapeutic option for DMD management. As watermelon has abundant arginine, this fruit could be utilized for its benefit in helping muscular disorders, such as DMD.
Watermelon and Skincare
We all turn to vitamin C when we feel that sore throat coming on or when we notice a slight cold developing, but vitamin C actually helps with much more than just preventing sickness. Vitamins C and E are the most important natural antioxidants for anti-aging benefits because their small molecular weights allow them to penetrate the skin and induce the production of collagen, which is vital for keeping your skin smooth and healthy. This promotion of collagen production also helps protect the skin from sun damage—chronic photo-damage from too much exposure to UV rays of the sun manifests itself as extrinsic skin aging and wrinkles.
Research aimed at preventing photo-aging includes sun avoidance, sun protection, and therapy that promotes collagen production. Fortunately, vitamin C does just that! Because vitamin C is not synthesized by the body, it is important to add the adequate amount of this vitamin into your daily diet. Citrus fruits, guava, chili peppers, and watermelon are all hearty sources of vitamin C.
As they say, beauty truly does start from within, which means that protecting your skin begins with what you put into your body.
Watermelon and Hair Growth
Male pattern baldness is a landmark in time that no man wants to pass. On the other hand, just as unwanted is the thinning of hair in women as they age. The effect of hair loss is not just a superficial physical effect, but it has also been documented that is takes an emotional toll on the patient as well.
The mammalian hair follicle contains papilla and dermal sheath cells and undergoes a cycle of growth as the follicle ages. Certain growth factors are believed to cause the epithelial cells in the hair follicle tissues to proliferate and differentiate, leading to thicker and more abundant hair. Since a derivative of vitamin C, l-Ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, is known to stimulate human fibroblasts and osteoblasts, researchers have suggested that such a supplement may be useful for hair growth.
Indeed, when hair follicles were isolated and treated with this compound, scientists saw significant growth stimulation in dermal papilla cells as well as an elongation of the hair shaft. Such findings may suggest that vitamin C promotes the growth of hair follicles, which is one more reason why vitamin C-rich watermelon should be an essential part of everyone’s diet.
Watermelon and Weight Loss
Because watermelon is composed of so much water, it is by no means unusual to hear that eating watermelon may help to reduce fat or lose weight. This property of the fruit, however, may be attributed to more than just its high water content. The high levels of citrulline in watermelon mean that when our body processes this amino acid it can convert it into another amino acid called arginine.
Recently, several studies have been finding evidence that the more conversion there is from citrulline to arginine, the more the amino acids block the activity of an enzyme called tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase, TNAP. Interestingly, blocking the metabolic activities of this enzyme may help to prevent excess accumulation of fat in fat cells. The reason this occurs is thought to begin with arginine’s function in the body. Researchers have found that arginine stimulates lipolysis and the expression of several genes responsible for fatty acid oxidation.
The more fatty acids that are oxidized into carbon dioxide and water, the more your body also reduces your amount of stored body fat. Although more research must be done in this area to specifically prove arginine’s role in helping reduce body fat, it certainly cannot hurt to make sure you have enough arginine and watermelon in your daily diet!
Watermelon and Bones Health
Many people always think of “milk” or “calcium” when we hear about improving our bone health. Along with improving our cardiovascular health, lycopene has also been found to improve our bone health and prevent unnecessary bone loss as we age. Lycopene is exactly what it is categorized as—an anti-oxidant.
It reduces oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which in turn reduces the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. These nasty bone cell categories are the ones that are usually involved in the onset and pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Additionally, one study discovered that another way lycopene exerts its protective effect on our body and our bones is by suppressing bone resorption, which significantly inhibits bone loss.
Luckily, watermelons are packed with both lycopene and a bit of calcium as well, which makes for a superfood that your bones will love!
Muscles and Nerves Support
When you think of foods that are rich in potassium, watermelons may not be the first fruit that comes to mind, but they do actually contain a great amount of potassium, which is highly beneficial for your muscles and nerves. One of the major functions of potassium is to regulate the excitability of nerves and muscle tissue.
Both magnesium and potassium are intracellular cations, and the plasma concentrations of each on either side of intracellular and extracellular membranes greatly contributes to the resting membrane potential, which is much like the homeostatic amount of cations on both sides of the membrane.
Thus, potassium helps to determine the degree and frequency with which our muscles relax and contract. Watermelon is also a natural electrolyte, meaning that it is an important nutrient for our body that needs to be replenished since it sends key impulses that influence our heart, muscles, and nerves.
Watermelon and Inflammation
We have already discussed how watermelon and the nutrients it provides may be a therapeutic option for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a disorder that prompts inflammatory markers. Although they may seem similar, chronic and low-grade or short-term inflammation can actually be quite different, which means that treating them allows for differences as well.
In several studies, watermelon powder was studied and tested to see if such a concoction was effective in reducing inflammation in dextran sodium sulfate-treated rats. Although supplementation of L-arginine and L-citrulline had already been found to be viable in decreasing inflammation, this study aimed to discover if watermelon powder may have the same effect. Indeed, the DSS treatment used on the rats induced inflammation, but the watermelon powder supplement efficiently improved the inflammation over a certain period of time.
Because inflammation is a strong contributor to many different diseases and disorders, such as atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease, finding plausible methods to treat inflammation is important.
Watermelon and Alkaline
Many fad diets lose their credibility and efficacy because they promise fantastic weight loss in a minimal amount of time. Many such diets are not actually good for your body and are simply aimed to make you lose weight but not necessarily in a healthy way or to keep the weight off.
You may think that an “alkaline diet” is another scam to lose weight, but an alkaline-based diet has nothing to do with weight loss. Much research has been done about adding alkaline foods to your diet. You may reduce your risk of mortality and morbidity from chronic illnesses and diseases by doing so. For humans, we require a very narrowly controlled pH range of about 7.4 to survive.
Reducing your acid load and focusing on alkaline-forming foods has been found to prevent loss of muscle mass as we naturally age, and it has also been suggested that supplementation of alkaline minerals may improve chronic back pain.
Studies have also noticed that since chemotherapy is influenced heavily by pH, inducing metabolic alkalosis in chemotherapy patients is useful in enhancing some treatments. So, even though you may not be undergoing chemo or have back pain, foods rich in alkaline, such as watermelon, have been proven to reduce many of the natural symptoms that come with aging, allowing us to lead longer, healthier lives.
Watermelon and Wound Healing
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is involved in all phases of human wound healing. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is around 60 mg, but many researchers are beginning to find that supplements of this nutrient that are far above the recommended daily amount may actually have a beneficial role in speeding up would healing.
When tests were conducted by giving patients anywhere from 500 to 3,00 mg of vitamin C to subjects recovering from surgery, with an illness, other injuries, and ulcers, doctors found that the wound healing in subjects who were vitamin C deficient could be significantly accelerated with ascorbic acid supplements.
The reasoning behind this lies in the process of wound healing. During the initial inflammatory phase, neutrophils are clustered in the injured area, and then they are required to self-destruct and clear from the area as the wound heals. To do so, vitamin C is required so that the neutrophils can perform apoptosis.
During the proliferative phase, vitamin C is needed to help with the synthesis, maturation, and degradation of collagen as well as scar formation. Finally, completely after the wounding, plasma levels of ascorbic acid decrease dramatically, so we must replenish the supply of this nutrient to continue and even speed up the healing process.Because watermelon is so rich in vitamin C, it is a perfect candidate if you want more vitamin C.
Watermelon and Cell Damage
Free radicals are chemical species that are highly reactive because they are composed of a single electron. They are very unstable and especially dangerous to biological systems, such as humans, due to the oxidative stress that they can cause on our bodies. Unfortunately, oxidative damage by free radicals is only a normal occurrence.
Our natural endogenous system essentially protects us from the damage that these free radicals can do but only to a certain extent. We need antioxidants and cofactors, nutrients that our body cannot synthesize, to further neutralize these harmful demons. It is believed that oxidative damage has a key implication in overall aging as well as various diseases and age-related disorders.
Fortunately, common vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin C, provide exceptional protection from the harm that free radicals cause. Consuming the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, whether through supplements or such fruits as oranges and watermelon, will help keep the oxidative damage to a minimum and leave your body feeling as healthy as ever.
How To Select And Store Watermelons
People tap on Watermelons to determine if they sound hollow and are therefore ripe; however, this practice does not always meet with success. Instead, look for Watermelons that have a smooth surface and a cream-colored underbelly. Despite the best precautions, however, it is difﬁcult to judge the quality of a watermelon without cutting it in half. When cut, indicators of a good watermelon include ﬁrm, juicy red ﬂesh and dark brown to black seeds. The presence of white streaks in the ﬂesh or white seeds usually indicates immaturity.
Watermelons should be refrigerated in order to best preserve their freshness, taste, and juiciness. If the whole watermelon does not ﬁt in your refrigerator, cut it into pieces (as few as possible), and cover them with cling ﬁlm to prevent them from becoming dried out and from absorbing the odors of other foods.
Tips For Preparing Watermelons
Melons grow resting on the ground, which means their rinds can become contaminated by animal or human waste, or contamination can be transferred from the harvesters’ or other handler’s hands to the melon. Unless the skin is thoroughly cleansed, the knife used to halve a melon can transfer pathogens, such as Salmonella, directly onto the ﬂesh. For this reason, all melons should be sprayed with a solution of diluted additive-free soap or commercial produce wash.
Due to its large size, you will probably not be able to rinse a watermelon under water in the sink. Instead, wash it with a wet cloth or paper towel. Be sure also to wash surfaces that have come into contact with the unwashed melon, such as hands and cutting boards.
Depending upon the size you desire, there are many ways to cut a watermelon. The ﬂesh can be sliced, cubed, or scooped into balls. Watermelon is delicious to eat as is, but it also makes a delightful addition to a fruit salad. In addition, jam, sorbet, and juice are some nutritious and delicious things you can make with watermelon. Moreover, while many people are accustomed to eating only the juicy ﬂesh, both the seeds and the rind are also edible.
Quick Serving Ideas for Watermelons
- Watermelon can be eaten on its own, used in fruit salads, or juiced.
- Freeze puréed watermelon in ice cube trays. Once frozen, gently blend in a food processor to create a frozen granita dessert treat.
- In Asian countries, roasted watermelon seeds are either seasoned and eaten as a snack food or ground up into cereal and used to make bread.
- A featured item of southern American cooking, the rind of watermelon can be marinated, pickled, or candied.
- Purée watermelon, cantaloupe, and kiwifruit together. Swirl in a little plain yogurt, and serve as a refreshing cold soup.
Watermelon And Feta Salad
- 180g watermelon
- ½ cucumber
- ½ bunch mint
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g feta
- 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
- Chop 180g watermelon and ½ cucumber into chunks and tip into a bowl with the leaves from ½ bunch mint (reserving a few for garnish) and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and pile on to a serving plate. Crumble over 100g feta, the remaining mint leaves, then drizzle with 1 tbsp balsamic glaze just before serving.
Frozen Watermelon Milkshake Recipe
Negative Effects Of Watermelons
During summers, we can find watermelons everywhere! The perfect summer fruit, watermelons with high water content, make for great thirst quenchers. Watermelons are not just tasty and refreshing but are healthy too! They contain high amounts of Vitamins A, C and B6, and potassium. They also contain plant chemical, such as citrulline and lycopene. These chemicals in watermelons make them good for our health.
But like everything else, too much consumption of watermelon can create problems for your body.
Side Effects Of Watermelon:
There are several components in watermelon that can cause side effects. Here are some of the side effects of this delicious, juicy fruit are:
1. Intestinal Disturbance:
Watermelons are rich in lycopene. So, do not consume watermelon in large quantities. It may lead to nausea, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion and gas. These symptoms can be worse among older people, as the digestive system tends to weaken with age.
2. Cardiovascular Disorders:
Watermelons contain high level of potassium. Consuming potassium enriched food in large quantities can lead to cardiovascular problems. Some of the diseases are absent or weak pulse, irregular heartbeats, cardiac arrest, etc. It may also affect the motor control and nervous system of the body.
3. Not Good For Diabetics:
When an individual is insulin resistant, then the blood sugar level tends to stay put in the blood. It does not enter into the cells of the body. When there is a shortfall of glucose in the cells, then more amount of insulin is manufactured. Both the blood and the sugar remain in the blood, which can affect the triglyceride levels in the body. Watermelon, full of with natural sugar can cause a spike in the sugar level of the body. That is why diabetics should avoid consuming watermelon.
4. Fall In The Blood Pressure Level:
Excessive consumption of watermelon can lead to a dip in the body’s blood pressure level. If a person suffers from low blood pressure, it is best to avoid watermelon in all its form.
5. Allergic Reactions:
Consuming watermelon can also cause allergic reactions in some people. They are severe or mild rashes, anaphylaxis and facial swelling. People who are allergic to carrots, latex and cucumber, can easily develop allergic reactions to watermelon.
6. Avoid During Pregnancy:
Gestational diabetes is a common, yet serious health issue that plagues many pregnant women. Consuming large quantities of watermelons increases blood sugar level, which leads to gestational diabetes. So, pregnant women should stop eating watermelon for a few months! Better safe than sorry!
7. Loose Stools:
Watermelon contains a special type of sugar, called sorbitol. People, who are intolerant to sorbitol develop loose stools and gas on consuming watermelon.
8. Problems Related To Nerves And Muscles:
People, who consume watermelon in large quantities, develop nerve, muscle and kidney problems.
Side effects of eating too much watermelon can cause impotence and erectile dysfunction in men.
The weak function of the kidney reduces purification and excretion of harmful substances from the body, which leads to swelling of the legs. Consumption of excessive watermelons can increase the water quantity in the body. If the excess water is not excreted from the body, then it can lead to increase in the volume of blood. This may further worsen the swelling as well as lead to exhaustion and fatigue.
Why is it Bad to Eat Watermelon at Night Before Sleep?
There is no restriction to eat watermelon, you know it has beneficial effects but If you’re going to eat watermelon at night before sleeping then you should consider the side effects.
Side Effects of Watermelon at Night
The answer to the above question can be given by introducing the side effects of watermelon at night. The problem we are talking about is the slow digestion or not good digestion of food during sleep, watermelon may not be able to digest during sleep or stay undigested which may result in health issue related to stomach the following day.
During research, I found some other side effects that are related to urination. The consumption of watermelon can cause continual peeing for the duration of the night after sleep. A number of fruits such as watermelon, cranberries, and citrus work as diuretics, which suggests that these fruits cause you to urinate more often.
Symptomfind.com suggests that consumption of fruits like Watermelon at night will cause your sleep to be disrupted for frequent trips to the bathroom. Eating watermelon at night can disturb your sleep, and also bad for your stomach health.
Is Watermelon Ideal for Midnight Hunger?
Watermelon is ideally suited for midnight food cravings in case consumed in moderate amounts. According to Livestrong, water-rich fruits like watermelon are low in calories and you can consume a lot and still remain inside your 200-calorie snack limit. 4 cups of watermelon balls contain 184 calories and ideal as a nighttime snack that won’t overdo calories and also help to lose weight. The whole fruit is edible and nutritious. However, I mentioned both the facts, It is good and bad.
Is it possible to Prevent Side Effects of Watermelon in the Night?
Only small amount of watermelon can fill your stomach easily and in case someone eat watermelon at night before sleep they should eat very small portion to avoid the side effects. The second easy method to avoid side effect to stay on the safe side is simple, Just avoid eating Watermelon in the night before the bedtime. If you don’t eat them in the night time, you won’t face any problem like above mentioned.
So, when you eat watermelon, be mindful of your portion size! It is easy to consume too much of this fresh fruit—it is just so tasty! But now that you know about the side effects of watermelon, be sure you are not filling your body with too much of a good thing! If you do notice any of these side effects, don’t wait for them to simply pass, go see your doctor!
Since melons, in general, are among the foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found, we recommend buying organically grown melons.
The best way to eat watermelon
If you’re getting bored with just slicing and dicing your fresh watermelon (which, fair), here are a few other ideas of how to cook and eat watermelon to make the most out of its health benefits:
1. Make a cocktail: If you’re outside sipping a boozy Bev anyway, why not make it spiked watermelon juice? A half-ounce of vodka, some watermelon juice, and a few muddled fresh mint leaves is an instant refresher that gets the okay from Smith. Or consider a sparkling watermelon sangria like in the below video:
2. Turn it into salsa: Chop up watermelon and combine with lime juice, salt, and tomatoes for a nice salsa that can go with plantain chips or atop a grilled piece of fish or chicken. (If you’re really needing a recipe, this easy version from Gimme Some Oven looks divine.)
3. Or make it into a salad: Top a bed of arugula with watermelon cubes, feta, pumpkin seeds, and a light vinaigrette. Or try Crossfit exec Billy De La Rosa’s go-to salad recipe, which includes watermelon, avocado, nuts, tomato, and cucumber. Yummm.
4. Drink it: Yep, you can. There are a few bottled watermelon juices on the market, but WTRMLNWTR($34.99 for a six-pack) is made from just watermelon flesh and rind and lemon (as opposed to others that are “watermelon juice drinks” that have added sugar and fruit juices). You can also make your own easily by blending watermelon in a blender or food processor. If you want a smooth texture, strain before drinking.
5. Turn it into a popsicle: Because what screams “warm weather” quite like a popsicle (and a watermelon one at that)? These watermelon-hibiscus ice pops are just the ticket if you’re looking for a healthier treat.
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