Watermelon is a fruit that is rich in water and helps to keep the body and skin hydrated. It can also help to manage fluid retention and prevent the formation of kidney stones.
In addition to being a natural diuretic, watermelon also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, digestive and antihypertensive properties. Eating watermelon regularly can therefore offer several health benefits.
The red color of watermelon is due to the presence of lycopene in its composition. This compound has a potent antioxidant action in the body. Watermelon is made up of 92% water and only 6% sugar, meaning that a small portion will not negatively affect blood sugar levels.
Health benefits of watermelon
The main health benefits of watermelon are:
1. Improving and preventing water retention
Watermelon is a fruit with a large amount of water, giving it a natural diuretic effect on the body. It can help to reduce bloating and to eliminate excess fluid through the urine.
In addition, watermelon contains potassium, a mineral that promotes the elimination of excess fluid from the body. This can help to reduce inflammation.
2. Hydrating the body
Watermelon helps to keep the body hydrated, as 92% of this fruit is made-up of water. It is a great snack to consume on very hot days.
3. Preventing the formation of kidney stones
Watermelon is a fruit with protective properties that are effective against kidney disease, It helps keep urine clean, due to its diuretic properties. Furthermore, the pulp contains steroids and alkanes, which can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
The potassium found in watermelon also helps to balance acids produced by the body, which can increase pH and reducing excess calcium in the urine. These factors are important for preventing the formation of kidney stones.
4. Strengthening the immune system
Watermelon contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. The vitamin C and vitamin A in this fruit are antioxidants that stimulate the body's defense cells, which can prevent the development of diseases like the cold or flu.
5. Protecting the skin from the sun
Because is it rich in carotenoids, such as lycopene, watermelon is a great option to help protect the skin from damage caused by the sun's rays. It also has antioxidants that help prevent damage to the skin caused by free radicals cause to the skin, which can aid in preventing premature aging.
6. Improving intestinal flow
Watermelon is high in fiber and water, both which add volume to the stool and contribute to better intestinal flow.
7. Promoting weight loss
Watermelon is low in calories and also has some fiber. These elements make watermelon a great snack to add to balanced and healthy diet, and can contribute to weight loss.
8. Helping to manage blood pressure
Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that can increase nitric oxide levels in the body. This helps to dilate blood vessels and promote blood pressure reduction.
This fruit also contains potassium, a mineral that promotes the elimination of excess sodium through urine. This can also help to regulate blood pressure.
Lycopene, another antioxidant compound found in watermelon, can also help regulate blood pressure, as some studies indicate that this fruit reduces vasoconstriction.
9. Improving skin and hair health
Watermelon can help to improve the appearance and health of the skin and hair, as it contains vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene. Vitamin C facilitates the collagen synthesis process, vitamin A contributes to cell regeneration and lycopene helps protect the skin from sun damage.
The red part of the watermelon is rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, beta-carotene and lycopene. These help protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. The transparent part, close to the rind, is also rich in nutrients and should therefore be consumed when possible.
10. Improving physical performance
Citrulline is an amino acid that is found in watermelon and can improve performance during exercise.
Watermelon also contains potassium and magnesium, which are minerals that are important for preventing muscle weakness and improving muscle contraction and cramps during intense physical activity.
11. Protecting the heart
The lycopene present in watermelon naturally contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. This can prevent the LDL cholesterol oxidation and prevent the formation of atherosclerosis plaques, as well as the development of heart diseases.
Lycopene is also able to increase the concentration of HDL cholesterol, which promotes heart health.
12. Preventing cancer
Watermelon has carotenoids, mainly lycopene, which is a compound with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. It can be effective in preventing some types of cancer, such as prostate and colorectal cancer.
This fruit also contains cucurbitacin E, a compound that, according to some studies, can inhibit the growth of tumor cells. It can also promote the removal of sick cells from the body.
The following table outlines the amount of nutrients in 100 g and 1 slice (300 g) of watermelon:
|Components||100 g of watermelon||One slice (300 g)|
|Energy||26 calories||78 calories|
|Fat||0.2 g||0.6 g|
|Carbohydrates||5.5 g||16.5 g|
|Protein||0.4 g||1.2 g|
|Water||93.6 g||280.8 g|
|Vitamin A||50 mcg||150 mcg|
|Vitamin C||4 mg||12 mg|
|Potassium||100 mg||300 mg|
|Calcium||10 mg||30 mg|
|Phosphorus||5 mg||15 mg|
|Magnesium||12 mg||36 mg|
To obtain all the benefits mentioned above, it is important to include watermelon as part of a healthy and balanced diet. You should maintain good overl health habits, which include regular physical activity.
How to consume
Watermelon is a fruit that contains carbohydrates and, therefore, you should combine a fiber source with it when consumed. Some examples include 15 to 30 g of dried fruits (walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, etc.), 1 tablespoon of rolled oats or 1 teaspoon of flaxseed or chia seeds.
Healthy watermelon recipes
Watermelon is a fruit that is generally consumed in its naturally raw state. However, it can also be prepared with other foods. Some healthy watermelon recipes include:
1. Watermelon and pomegranate salad
- 3 medium slices of watermelon
- 1 large pomegranate
- Mint leaves
- Honey to taste
How to prepare:
Cut the watermelon into pieces. Peel the pomegranate, and extract its seeds. Place everything in a bowl, decorate with mint and drizzle with honey as desired
2. Watermelon rind strew
- Rind of half a watermelon
- 1/2 tomato
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and chives
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of water
- Season with: salt, pepper and one bay leaf
How to prepare:
Sautee the garlic clove and onion in the olive oil until golden. Then, add the watermelon rind, tomato and bay leaves and leave over medium heat for a few minutes until everything is very soft. Add the water, parsley and chives, and then serve with a meat or fish dish.
3. Green sausage
- Rind of one watermelon
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- Parsley and chives to taste, chopped
- 1kg of chicken breast, cooked and pulled
- Olives, sliced
- 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- Juice of half a lemon
How to prepare:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Place in small molds or cups and serve chilled, accompanied with rice, for example.