Watermelon is around 90% water, which makes it useful for staying hydrated in the summer. It can also satisfy a sweet tooth with its natural sugars.
Watermelon also contains antioxidants. These substances can
If too many free radicals stay in the body, oxidative stress can occur. This can result in cell damage and may lead to a range of diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
The body can remove some free radicals naturally, but dietary antioxidants support this process.
Below are some of the ways antioxidants and other nutrients in watermelon may help protect a person’s health.
What other foods provide antioxidants? Click here to find out.
Studies have not confirmed that taking vitamin C supplements can help prevent asthma, but a diet that is rich in vitamin C may offer some protection.
What types of exercise can people do if they have asthma? Find out here.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that watermelon extract reduced blood pressure in and around the ankles of middle-aged people with obesity and early hypertension. The authors suggested that L-citrulline and L-arginine — two of the antioxidants in watermelon — may improve the function of the arteries.
Lycopene — another antioxidant in watermelon — may help protect against heart disease. A 2017
Phytosterols are plant compounds that may help manage low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Some
Reducing LDL cholesterol may help prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the precise impact of phytosterols on CVD remains unclear.
Which foods can help lower blood pressure? Find out here.
Dietary antioxidants in watermelon, such as vitamin C, may help prevent cancer by combatting free radicals.
Click here to learn more about the links between cancer and diet.
Digestion and regularity
Watermelon has high water content and also provides some fiber. These nutrients help promote a healthy gut by preventing constipation and promoting regularity of bowel movements.
Watermelon is around 90% water and also provides electrolytes, such as potassium. This makes it a healthful choice of snack during the hot summer months.
People can eat watermelon fresh, as juice, or frozen in slices for a tasty cold Popsicle-style snack.
Water is essential for health. Learn more here about why we need it.
Brain and nervous system
Choline is another antioxidant that occurs in watermelon.
- muscle movement
- learning and memory
- maintaining the structure of cell membranes
- the transmission of nerve impulses
- early brain development
One theory suggests that choline may help slow the progression of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease, but there is not enough evidence to confirm this.
What is a brain-boosting diet? Find out here.
Watermelon and watermelon juice may reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes.
In a 2017
It is unclear whether consuming watermelon juice without added L-citrulline would have the same effect.
People with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain. How can diet help?
Watermelon contains vitamin C, which
Discover some tips on other skin-friendly foods.
In 2019, researchers published
The people who ate watermelon reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied for longer than those who ate the cookies.
In addition, after 4 weeks, those who ate watermelon had:
- higher levels of antioxidants in their blood
- lower body weight and body mass index (BMI)
- lower systolic blood pressure
- improved waist-to-hip ratio
Those who ate the cookies had higher levels of oxidative stress than the watermelon group. Their blood pressure and body fat also increased.
The results suggest that watermelon may be a good choice of snack for people with obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Can people with diabetes eat watermelon? Find out here.
Some people use diuretic drugs to help their body remove excess water and salt. This can be useful for people with kidney problems, high blood pressure, and other conditions.
A 2014 mouse study concluded that watermelon’s diuretic action might be as effective as that of furosemide, which is a well-known diuretic. This could make it a natural option for people with excess fluid. Never stop taking a prescription diuretic without talking to your healthcare provider.
What other natural diuretics are there? Find out here.
When buying a watermelon, people should look for one that is firm, heavy, and symmetrical without soft spots or bruising.
Tapping the outside can give a clue as to the texture of the fruit inside. Listen for a light and almost hollow sounding thud. This indicates the water and fruit contained is intact and has a stable structure.
Tips for serving watermelon include:
Juice: Place diced watermelon and a few ice cubes in a blender for a cold, refreshing, electrolyte drink that is perfect for rehydrating after exercise or a day in the sun.
Salad: Add watermelon, mint, and fresh mozzarella to a bed of spinach leaves for a tasty and healthful salad. Drizzle with balsamic dressing.
Smoothies: Make a watermelon smoothie or combine with orange juice for extra tang. Remember that juicing breaks down the fiber, making the sugar easier to absorb. People with diabetes should consider eating fresh, whole watermelon rather than drinking juice.
Roasted seeds: Roast the watermelon seeds in an oven for 15 – 20 minutes to make a tasty snack. One ounce (28.5 g) of seeds can provide around 8 g of protein, or
People should check the packaging of premade juices and candies, as these may have added sugar and may not be as healthful. Eating watermelon whole is the most healthful option.
Cantaloupe is another popular type of melon. Find out more.