Health Benefits of Watermelon

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A man eating a slice of watermelon in a city park.
A man eating a slice of watermelon in a city park. (Image: nandyphotos/iStock/Getty Images)

Water may be the main ingredient in watermelon, but this sweet and juicy fruit is also rich in nutrients that do your body good. No matter how you like it, with or without seeds, on the rind or melon-balled in a bowl, watermelon makes a good addition to any diet.

Thirst Quencher

You may not give the water in the food you eat much thought. But fruits like watermelon are a source of water and can help you meet your daily fluid needs for adequate hydration. Ninety-two percent of the weight in a serving of watermelon is water. In fact, Clemson Cooperative Extension recommends you choose high-water containing fruit to meet fluid needs instead of juice.

Low-Calorie Sweet Treat

Another benefit of the high water content in watermelon is that it keeps calories low. A 1-cup serving of watermelon balls contains 46 calories, 12 grams of carbs, almost 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein and no fat.

With so many people struggling with their weight, eating low-calorie foods like watermelon may help. The large portion size and low calorie content of the sweet fruit helps fill you up without making a huge dent in your daily calorie allowance.

Full of Vitamins A and C

Watermelon is an excellent source of both vitamins A and C; a 1-cup serving of watermelon balls meets 18 percent and 21 percent of the daily value, respectively.

Much of the vitamin A content in the watermelon is in the form of beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage by free radicals. People who eat more foods rich in beta carotene like watermelon seem to have a lower risk of both heart disease and cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and may help regenerate other antioxidants in your body, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, adding extra protection against free radicals. The vitamin C in watermelon also helps make collagen, which you need for wound healing, and the amino acid L-carnitine.

May Improve Blood Pressure

Watermelon may also help lower your blood pressure, especially when under stressful situations. A study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Hypertension investigated the effects of watermelon extract on blood pressure in a group of obese hypertensive adults when exposed to cold temperatures, which increases blood pressure. The study found that the watermelon extract improved blood pressure during the added stress of the temperature change, and the researchers suggest that watermelon may improve heart health during the winter months.

However, watermelon extract may be a more concentrated source of nutrients than the actual fruit, and studies using the fruit may be needed to confirm its effects on blood pressure.

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