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Watermelons: Health Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Watermelons contain 92 per cent water. Each juicy bite of watermelon has a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants and amino acids. It is said that the more ripe the watermelon, the higher lycopene and beta-carotene levels [1] .

According to a study in the Journal of Chromatography, the white flesh near the rind of the watermelon contains more citrulline, an amino acid [2] . This amino acid improves blood circulation to the heart, thus promoting heart health.

The watermelon seeds aren't left behind either. They are brimming with umpteen health benefits, especially if they are shelled and sprouted. The watermelon seeds are packed with magnesium, protein, healthy fats, and vitamin B.

Nutritional Value Of Watermelon

100 g of watermelon contains 91.45 g water, 30 kcal energy and it also contains:

  • 0.61 g protein
  • 0.15 g fat
  • 7.55 g carbohydrate
  • 0.4 g fibre
  • 6.20 g sugar
  • 7 mg calcium
  • 0.24 mg iron
  • 10 mg magnesium
  • 11 mg phosphorus
  • 112 mg potassium
  • 1 mg sodium
  • 0.10 mg zinc
  • 8.1 mg vitamin C
  • 0.033 mg thiamine
  • 0.021 mg riboflavin
  • 0.178 mg niacin
  • 0.045 mg vitamin B6
  • 3 mcg folate
  • 569 IU vitamin A
  • 0.05 mg vitamin E
  • 0.1 mcg vitamin K

Health Benefits Of Watermelon

1. Prevents cancer

Watermelon contains lycopene which is linked to preventing cancers of the digestive system [3] . Lycopene lowers cancer risk by reducing insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein involved in cell division. Higher IGF levels are said to increase the chances of cancer.

2. Improves eye health

Lycopene protects the eyes from inflammation and oxidative damage. It works as an anti-inflammatory compound and antioxidant that may help prevent age-related macular degeneration [3] .

3. Promotes heart health

The high lycopene content in watermelon lowers the risk of heart disease. It decreases bad cholesterol and blood pressure. According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, watermelon helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults [4] . Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid that increases nitric oxide levels in the body which is known to lower blood pressure as well.

4. Reduces muscle soreness

Watermelons reduce muscle soreness due to their high citrulline content. Drinking watermelon juice is said to decrease muscle soreness and improve blood circulation in athletes [5] .

5. Prevents asthma

Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C, which lowers the risk of asthma and studies have shown that vitamin C has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties [6] . A person with asthma has lower levels of vitamin C in the body which is why he/she experiences asthma symptoms.

6. Improves digestion

Watermelon contains a good amount of fibre, which encourages a healthy digestive system and keeps your bowel movements regular.

7. Lowers inflammation

The high lycopene and vitamin C content in watermelons aid in lowering inflammation and oxidative damage. A study showed that eating fruits rich in lycopene and vitamin C lower inflammation levels in the body [7] .

8. Hydrates the body

As watermelon has a high water content eating it will keep your body hydrated, especially during the hot summer months.

9. Enhances skin and hair health

Vitamin C and vitamin A in watermelon are beneficial for skin and hair health. Vitamin C is required for making collagen, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and your hair strong. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin by repairing skin cells.

10. Treats erectile dysfunction

Watermelon is a good source of citrulline, which is converted into another amino acid called arginine. Arginine gets converted to nitric oxide, this nitric oxide helps in widening the blood vessels, increases blood flow to the penis and improves erections [8] .

Potential Health Risks Of Eating Watermelon

Excessive consumption of watermelon could cause diarrhoea or other stomach problems. Also consuming more than 30 mg of lycopene could cause indigestion, bloating, and nausea.

In addition, people with hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) shouldn't consume more than 1 cup of watermelon a day.

Watermelon Recipes

1. You can try out these refreshing watermelon recipes for summer.

2. You can also try out this masala watermelon juice recipe.

View Article References
  1. [1] Tlili, I., Hdider, C., Lenucci, M. S., Ilahy, R., Jebari, H., & Dalessandro, G. (2011). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activities during fruit ripening of watermelon cultivars.Journal of Food Composition and Analysis,24(7), 923-928.
  2. [2] Rimando, A. M., & Perkins-Veazie, P. M. (2005). Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind.Journal of Chromatography A,1078(1-2), 196-200.
  3. [3] Naz, A., Butt, M. S., Sultan, M. T., Qayyum, M. M., & Niaz, R. S. (2014). Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims.EXCLI journal,13, 650–660.
  4. [4] Figueroa, A., Sanchez-Gonzalez, M. A., Wong, A., & Arjmandi, B. H. (2012). Watermelon extract supplementation reduces ankle blood pressure and carotid augmentation index in obese adults with prehypertension or hypertension.American journal of hypertension,25(6), 640-643.
  5. [5] Tarazona-Díaz, M. P., Alacid, F., Carrasco, M., Martínez, I., & Aguayo, E. (2013). Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes.Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,61(31), 7522-7528.
  6. [6] Milan, S. J., Hart, A., & Wilkinson, M. (2013). Vitamin C for asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2013(10), CD010391.
  7. [7] Jacob, K., Periago, M. J., Böhm, V., & Berruezo, G. R. (2008). Influence of lycopene and vitamin C from tomato juice on biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation.British Journal of Nutrition,99(1), 137-146.
  8. [8] Cormio, L., De Siati, M., Lorusso, F., Selvaggio, O., Mirabella, L., Sanguedolce, F., & Carrieri, G. (2011). Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction.Urology,77(1), 119-122.
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