Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon

Health and Nutrition
23.10.2019

Watermelon belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae and is a native to tropical areas of Africa (1). Watermelon is consumed as a refreshing fruit during summer as it quenches thirst too. It has a resplendent red colour with a delicate taste. 

Carotenoids lycopene and β-carotene are the pigments responsible for the colour of watermelon (1).

  1. Nutritive value of watermelon

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and phytonutrients such as lycopene and citrulline (2). It is very low in sodium. With so many nutrients and very low calorific value, 30 kcal per 100 grams, it is a good option for low calorie fruit snack. 

  1. Hydration property

Watermelon has high content of water, about 92 % (3). In summer it is an excellent fruit to keep one hydrated. It makes a great snack in summer as it has a lot of water content and minerals. And to top it all it is a low-calorie fruit.

  1. Antioxidant activity of watermelon

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, carotene-alpha (303 µg per 100 grams) and lycopene (4532 µg per 100 grams) (4). All these components have antioxidant property. Lycopene’s free radical scavenging activity is higher than β-carotene and tocopherol (1).

Citrulline is a non-protein amino acid which is found in watermelon and is reported to have antioxidant activity (1). 

Antioxidants prevent the harmful damage caused by free radicals and they also repair the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants can enhance the immune function and reduce the risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases (5).

  1. Watermelon and heart health

Dyslipidaemia or abnormal lipid levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Watermelon seems to have the potential to improve the serum lipid profile.

In a clinical study conducted, watermelon extract was given to the participants and after the experimental period the plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein were lower in the subjects (6). 

Watermelon has good amount of lycopene and lycopene rich diets have the possibility to lower lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is one of the major factors contributing to hypercholesterolemia (7).

  1. Anticarcinogenic activity of watermelon

Because of the vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants such as lycopene in watermelon it may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer (4). Lycopene is also known to exhibit anti-proliferative activity in cancer (7).

  1. Watermelon and its antidiabetic effect

The glycaemic load of watermelon is 4 and it can be grouped under low glycaemic load foods. Therefore, it can be a part of diabetic diet as part of a balanced diet (8).

In a study conducted on diabetic mice it was observed that watermelon juice significantly lowered the blood glucose levels (9). 

Diabetic people have a higher risk of developing heart problems. Watermelon has the potential to improve serum lipid profile (6).

  1. Watermelon is a good source of potassium

Potassium is an essential nutrient and is the most abundant cation present in the body fluid (10). Potassium is the main intracellular cation mainly involved in membrane potential, electrical excitation of both nerve and muscle cells and acid-base regulation (11).

Watermelon is a good source of potassium, it provides 112mg per 100grams of fruit. Potassium helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure (4).

  1. Anti-inflammatory effect of watermelon

Lycopene has anti-inflammatory activity and it can inhibit various inflammatory processes. Foods containing lycopene can help with immunity and general health. Watermelon contains lycopene and therefore can be considered as an anti-inflammatory fruit (4).

  1. Watermelon reduces risk of macular degeneration

Macular degenerative disease is a disorder affecting the retina resulting in gradual decrease in vision. Foods that are good sources of carotenoids such as lycopene may reduce the risk of macular degeneration (7). 

Watermelon being a source of lycopene can probably help in reducing the risk of macular disorders.

  1. Watermelon is beneficial for skin and hair

Watermelon provides vitamin A which helps skin and hair to be moisturized. Vitamin A and vitamin C support the growth collagen (4). Collagen is the protein which provides structural support to the body. Watermelon is a good source of vitamin A and C.

Final word

Watermelon is a refreshing fruit because it has 92 % water and a delicate taste. It has several nutrients and bioactive components which exhibit several health benefits.

 

References

 

  1. Maoto, M. M., Beswa, D. and Jideani, A. I. O. (2019) Watermelon as a potential fruit snack, International Journal of Food Properties. Vol. 22(1). 

             https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2019.1584212

 

  1. United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Food Composition Databases.

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

 

  1. Erhirhie, E. O. and Ekene, N. E. (2013) Medicinal Values on Citrullus lanatus (Watermelon): Pharmacological Review, International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. Vol. 4 (4).

https://www.academia.edu/7536976/Medicinal_Values_on_Citrullus_lanatus_Watermelon_Pharmacological_Review

 

  1. Reetu, Dr. and Tomar, M. (2017) Watermelon: A Valuable Horticultural Crop with Nutritional Benefits, Popular kheti. Vol. 5(2).

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323186959_Watermelon_A_Valuable_Horticultural_Crop_with_Nutritional_Benefits

 

  1. Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H. and Pham-Huy, C. (2008) Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health, International journal of biomedical science: IJBS. Vol. 4(2).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/

 

  1. Massa, N.M.,Silva, A., de Oliveira, C.V., Costa, M.J., Persuhn, D.C.,Barbosa, C.V. and Gonçalves, M.D.(2016) Supplementation with Watermelon Extract Reduces Total Cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol in Adults with Dyslipidemia under the Influence of the MTHFR C677T Polymorphism, J Am Coll Nutr. Vol. 35 (6).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26934084

 

  1. Naz, A., Butt, M. S., Sultan, M. T., Qayyum, M. M. and Niaz, R. S. (2014) Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims, EXCLI journal. Vol.13.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/

 

  1. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health, Second Edition; Carbohydrates Are Our Basic Fuel Source 66; Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York and London.

 

  1. Wong, S.N., Wu, L., Lu, P., Ojo, B., Tang, M., Clarke, S., Keirns, B., Lucas, E.A., Smith, B., Chowanadisai, W., Conway, T. and Lin, D. (2019) Drinking Watermelon Juice Shift the Gut Microbiome in Diabetic Mice (P20-025-19), Current Developments in Nutrition. Vol. 3 (1).

https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/Supplement_1/nzz040.P20-025-19/5516967/

 

  1. Stone, M. S., Martyn, L., and Weaver, C. M. (2016) Potassium Intake, Bioavailability, Hypertension, and Glucose Control, Nutrients. Vol. 8(7).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963920/

 

  1. Lanham-New, S.A., Lambert, H. and Frassetto, L. (2012) Potassium, Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 3(6). 

https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/6/820/4644562

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