When it is a hot summer day there is nothing quite like eating a piece of juicy watermelon. This fruit is only in season for a short time, which is one of the reasons that it is all that much sweeter when you get your hands on a large piece.
Watermelon is a fat-free fruit and is a good source of Vitamins A, B6, and C. It also contains Potassium and the antioxidant plant phytochemicals lycopene and citrulline. Lycopene is what gives watermelon the pink, bright red, and sometimes deep red color.
Lycopene is a very strong antioxidant. The mineral potassium can help lower blood pressure and also aids the proper functioning of all body organs. The phytochemical citrulline benefits the heart and circulation.
While watermelon may seem like a simple fruit, many people are surprised to find out that there are actually many great health benefits from eating watermelon.
1. Heart Health
Watermelons get their red color from lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that has been recognized for its connection with cardiovascular health. Consuming foods rich in lycopene such as watermelon can help improve blood flow and may even lower blood pressure.
2. Watermelon Juice May Relieve Muscle Soreness
If you have a juicer, try juicing about one-third of a fresh watermelon and drinking its juice prior to your next workout. This contains a little over one gram of l-citrulline, an amino acid that seems to protect against muscle pain.
One study found that men who drank natural unpasteurized watermelon juice prior to their workouts had reduced muscle soreness 24 hours later compared to those who drank a placebo.4
You do need to be careful with drinking watermelon juice, though, as it contains a significant amount of fructose. It may be better to eat the entire fruit, or opt for these other tips to prevent muscle soreness.
Lycopene in the diet (also found in tomatoes) has been shown to promote healthy bones. This powerful antioxidant reduces the activity of the bones cells implicated in the development of osteoporosis. And its high levels of potassium help retain calcium, which keeps your bones and joints healthy and strong.
4. Boosts the immune system and speeds healing
Watermelon contains high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and protects the body against free radicals and oxidative stress. Vitamin C also plays an important role in healing injuries. The enzymes that are involved in collagen production need vitamin C. So if your wounds aren’t healing like they should, increase your intake of vitamin C with foods like watermelon and citrus fruits.
5. Anti-inflammatory properties
Watermelon is rich in flavonoids, carotenoids (such as lycopene) and triterpenoids. The lycopene in watermelon in particular has shown great results in the reduction of inflammation and neutralization of free radicals. Make sure you get ripe watermelon, since they have a higher concentration of these anti-inflammatory compounds.
Watermelon gets its name for a reason. It is full of water. Not only does it contain water, but it also is full of electrolytes that can help keep you hydrated.