Watermelon --- Top 7 Health Benefits
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May 14, 2014

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Bite into a fresh, juicy, pink watermelon and it’s not hard to
imagine all the good it’s doing for your health.
Watermelons are the type of fruit that make you feel sunny
and happy – eating watermelon puts a smile on your face.
Some people avoid watermelon because they believe it has
high levels of sugar. However, according to recent
research, the sweet red-fleshed fruit appears to be
associated with a wide range of health benefits. Read on to
discover why watermelon deserves a place on your grocery

Where do Watermelons Come From?

Watermelons are part of the Cucurbitaceous family, which
also contains squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and cucumber.

Watermelons are believed to have originated in Africa
thousands of years ago and were taken to Asia and Europe
in the first century.

Watermelons arrived in the United States when Europeans
began to arrive in North America. Now, the average
American eats 15 pounds of fresh watermelon each year.

Over four billion pounds of watermelon are produced in the
United States annually, mainly in California, Florida,
Indiana, and Georgia.

Nutritional Benefits of Watermelons

Despite being made up of primarily water and sugar (6
percent sugar and around 92 percent water), watermelons
are surprisingly good for you --- don't let the sugar
content put you off.

In fact, watermelons are lower in sugar than you may
think. A large slice of watermelon has 6.3 grams of sugar
for every 100 grams of fruit. That's lower than oranges (9
grams per 100 grams) or most species of apples (10.3
grams of sugar for every 100 grams of sweet apples).

Watermelons are good for hydrating you and cooling you
down, and also contain high levels of essential nutrients for
good health.

Watermelons are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A,
and lycopene – a phytochemical also found in tomatoes
that may protect you against cancer.

How to Store Your Watermelon

It matters how you keep your watermelon. According to a
2006 study from the USDA Agricultural Research Service,
the tasty melons are a lot more nutritious when kept at
room temperature rather than being refrigerated. Really?

The researchers found that, when kept outside the fridge,
uncut watermelons contain
double the amount of beta
carotene and
20 percent more lycopene.

But watermelon tastes so much better cool, right? As a
compromise, try keeping your watermelon on the counter
top until you're ready to eat it. Then, put it in the fridge to
cool it down for a few hours before you cut it up and serve

In addition, ripe watermelon is better than unripe – the
highest lycopene content occurs when the watermelon
flesh goes from rich pink to red in color.

So, keep your watermelon uncut in a cool, unrefrigerated
place for the best nutritional benefits. But just what are
these benefits? We looked at recent scientific research to
find out why watermelons are good for your health.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelons May Help Prevent Preeclampsia

Watermelons are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is not an
essential nutrient, but it can be extremely useful for
optimum health. For example, studies have shown that
lycopene can reduce the risk of
preeclampsia in pregnant

A 2003 study from Maulana Azad Medical College and
associated Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, India evaluated
lycopene on 251 pregnant women and found that its used
lowered the risk of this dangerous condition.

Lycopene in Watermelon Helps Treat Mouth Conditions

Watermelon may also be useful for treating leukoplakia,
which is a pre-cancerous condition of the mouth that also
affects other mucous membranes. I

n a 2004 study from KLES's Institute of the Dental
Sciences, Belgaum, India, 58 people took lycopene daily
and discovered that the signs and symptoms of leukoplakia
were reduced, with greater effects coming at the higher

Watermelons are a great way to get lycopene into your diet
while also staying hydrated.

Watermelon Helps Treat Periodontal Disease

As another example of watermelon being useful for treating
mouth conditions, studies show that the lycopene in
watermelon may reduce the symptoms of gingivitis
(periodontal disease).

A 2007 study from Krishnadevaraya College of Dental
Sciences, Bangalore, India found lycopene offered benefits
when taken as a supplement and also when combined with
standard care.

Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure and Provides Other
Cardiovascular Benefits

Citrulline is an amino acid that is transferred by the kidneys
into arginine. Higher levels of arginine help improve
markers of cardiovascular health such as blood flow.
Watermelon flesh contains about 250mg of citrulline per

Drinking watermelon juice lowers cholesterol, weight, and
arterial plaque, at least in mice, according to 2012 research
from the University of Kentucky – citrulline is the key,
according to experts.

Watermelon is also linked to a lower risk of
Now, scientists do not understand exactly how watermelon
lowers your risk of developing blocked arteries. But
another University of Kentucky study in 2014, led by Dr.
Aruna Poduri, offers a possible answer. It turns out that
watermelon lowers "systemic inflammation" in your body,
which in turn reduces your risk for blocked arteries.

Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure

Eat watermelon for blood pressure benefits. According to a
2014 study from Florida State University, watermelon
significantly reduced blood pressure and improved levels of
cardiac stress in people who were overweight – both “at
rest” and under stress.

Watermelon Helps Improve Erectile Function?

The juicy watermelon may have other effects on the heart
– in particular, libido-raising effects.

A 2008 study from Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable
Improvement Center in College Station reports that the
ingredients in watermelon deliver effects similar to those
found when taking erectile-enhancing drugs.

The beneficial components include lycopene, citrulline, and
beta carotene, according to scientists, which can relax
blood vessels and improve blood flow to treat erectile

Watermelon Relieves Muscle Soreness

If you’re into fitness, check out watermelon juice for
optimum physical functioning – experts say it helps relieve
post-exercise muscle soreness.

A 2013 study by Encarna Aguayo et al published in the
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed eating
watermelon or drinking watermelon juice could help relieve
the soreness of muscles due to watermelon’s citrulline


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