Summertime is here and that means farmer’s markets and grocery stores across the country are once again selling that sweet, juicy fruit kids and adults alike wait all year for…
Yup, watermelon is back!
And we’ve got good news…
If you love watermelon, you’re getting more than a tasty treat. You’re also grabbing seven big health benefits.
#1 – Cancer and diabetes protection
The gorgeous red color you see when you cut into a watermelon comes from an antioxidant known as lycopene.
Not only does lycopene make watermelon beautiful, but it also battles the free radicals that contribute to aging and chronic disease.
In fact, studies have shown that lycopene has the power to lower both oxidative stress and inflammation. And increased lycopene intake has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
If that weren’t enough, the journal Oncology reports that “Results from several epidemiologic studies suggest a strong association between high intake of lycopene-rich foods and reduced risk of several cancers, notably prostate cancer.”
Remember, to get plenty of lycopene, be sure to choose a melon with a bright red color, rather than yellow or orange.
#2 – Better heart health
In addition to lycopene, watermelon also delivers a healthy punch of an amino acid known as citrulline, which could help lower your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
What’s the magic behind citrulline?
Well, you see, when you consume the amino acid, your body then converts it to arginine which allows the lining of your blood vessels to create nitric oxide.
This nitric oxide actually relaxes your blood vessels, helping blood flow more freely through your body. And when your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump your blood, your blood pressure goes down!
#3 – Healthy, happy joints
Another natural pigment found in watermelon, called beta-cryptoxanthin, delivers an important health benefit you’re going to want to take advantage of to stay active and mobile.
That’s because this pigment is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that could help keep your joints at their best. This pro-vitamin A carotenoid can be converted by your body to an active form of vitamin A, which plays an important role in regulating immune function, including inflammation.
And some studies have found that adding more beta-cryptoxanthin to your life could reduce your risk of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
#4 – Enhanced eye health
And when you consider the fact that a single medium slice of watermelon delivers up to 11 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin A, the benefits of enjoying the sweet fruit just keep stacking up.
Vitamin A is especially important to your eye health since according to American Optometric Association, night blindness is often one of the first signs of deficiency of the vitamin. That’s because vitamin A is essential for the formation of the photoreceptor rhodopsin – a photopigment that allows your eyes to see at night.
#5 – Natural hydration
And since watermelon is approximately 92 percent water, each slice offers your body some badly needed hydration.
This is vital during the summer months when it’s easy to find yourself feeling dehydrated and sluggish after time in the hot sun.
Other warning signs of dehydration include:
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
- Swollen tongue
- Sugar cravings
- Decreased urine output
#6 – Softer, smoother skin
Eating watermelon can even help keep your skin in tip-top shape since it’s packed with vitamins A, B6 and C.
The retinoids in vitamin A have been shown to strengthen the protective function of your epidermis, diminish trans-epidermal water loss, and even protect your collagen against the degradation that can cause sag.
B6 plays a role in protein metabolism and immune function that keeps your skin healthy. And vitamin C not only helps guard against photodamage due to UV rays, but it also helps boost collagen synthesis to support smooth, lifted skin.
#7 – Fewer cramps
Finally, watermelon also offers high levels of potassium, a mineral that helps prevent muscle cramps. This may be one of the most helpful benefits of watermelon during the summer months.
In fact, according to doctors at Harvard, a deficiency of potassium can trigger an electrolyte imbalance that results in forceful muscle contractions, especially in your calves.
So to avoid these painful cramps, why not have a slice of watermelon or enjoy a watermelon smoothie?
Choosing your watermelon
Now that you know how the benefits of watermelon can improve your health, how do you pick the best, sweetest of the bunch?
Well, the key is to look for one with a yellow spot on the bottom. This color shows that it’s ripe and ready to be enjoyed.
You should also look for one that feels heavy for its size and is free of bruises, dents and nicks.
And remember, you should always wash the outside of your melon before cutting it to avoid transferring harmful chemicals and germs to the inside. An easy way to do that is in your bathtub if your sink isn’t big enough.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
L-citrulline – WebMD
Beta-cryptoxanthin as a source of vitamin A – Wiley Online Library
Vitamin A beneficial for eyes, just not for preventing myopia – American Optometric Association
10 warning signs of dehydration. And staying hydrated while wearing a mask – Kaiser Permanente
Vitamin B6 – NIH
Vitamin C and Skin Health – Linus Pauling Institute
The importance of potassium – Harvard Health Publishing
Lycopene – Cancer Network