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According to research, having a slice of watermelon every day can halt the accumulation of bad cholesterol, thereby preventing heart disease. Regular consumption of watermelon has also been linked to fewer fatty deposits inside the blood vessels.
These heart-healthy properties of watermelon can be attributed to citrulline, a chemical found in the fruit. As per a Kentucky study, citrulline can have beneficial effects on atherosclerosis. Citrulline has also been found to reduce arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
Another primary compound found in watermelons is lycopene, which has great benefits. In one American study, lycopene was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.
Amongst the different carotenoids, lycopene is considered the best. In fact, the beneficial effects of lycopene for inflammation are considered even better than beta-carotene, an important carotenoid.
Wondering what percentage of watermelon is water? As the name of the fruit implies, watermelon is 90% water, making it one of the best sources of hydration. It is far better than alcohol or caffeine in terms of being a diuretic. As it is a natural source, it increases urination without stressing the kidneys.
Lycopene gets the credit, again. According to a study, lycopene in watermelons has been found to reduce the extent of cancer insurgence. Lycopene is the pigment that renders watermelons their characteristic red color, and since it is a powerful antioxidant, it prevents the onset of certain cancers.
A two-cup serving of watermelon contains about 20 milligrams of lycopene, which battles free radicals and protects against numerous types of cancer. According to a Chicago study, lycopene exhibits chemopreventive properties, especially in prostate cancer cells.
Lycopene has also been found useful in the treatment of HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, which might otherwise lead to uterine cancer.
If your sore muscles trouble you after a workout, watermelon might hold the key. The fruit is packed with electrolytes and the amino acid citrulline, which help soothe sore muscles after a heavy workout. And as per an Iranian study, citrulline in watermelons can help reduce muscle fatigue.
Citrulline has also been externally added to watermelon juice to check its effects, and it has been proven that it is only the naturally occurring citrulline in watermelons that has any effect on muscle soreness.
Citrulline has been found to accelerate the process of lactic acid removal, thereby relieving muscle soreness. Drinking watermelon juice can also help your muscles receive more oxygen – this helps them recover faster.
Watermelon, as we have seen, contains huge amounts of water, and hence can aid digestion. It also contains fiber, thus promoting digestion and preventing constipation.
Watermelon eases heartburn, a common condition during pregnancy. It also helps alleviate morning sickness. The minerals in the fruit can help prevent third-trimester muscle cramps.
As we have seen, watermelons are an excellent source of lycopene – which was found to reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease.
According to Mayo Clinic, lycopene has been suggested as a potential treatment for eye disorders like macular degeneration.
Antioxidants are essential for eye health as they offer protection against free radicals. The effect of free radicals can be scary – they might lead to the deterioration of the eye lens, and can even cause blindness. Lycopene, being a potent antioxidant, prevents this.
Hail lycopene, again! Being one of the key antioxidants, lycopene helps with the body’s reaction to cold and flu. And what’s more interesting is this antioxidant has been found to reduce asthma flare-ups in children.
Watermelon also allows people who have asthma to breathe properly, without them having to take each breath in panic. A study conducted on 17 asthmatic adults showed that lycopene might have a therapeutic effect on the disease.
As per a report, adequate intake of lycopene and vitamin A could be beneficial for asthmatic patients.
Watermelon is the richest natural source of citrulline. And according to a study published by the Florida State University, citrulline is closely related to arginine, which is an amino acid essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Another study that had volunteers consuming concentrated watermelon juice found increased levels of arginine in them, which was likely to have been converted from citrulline.
Watermelon also is a good source of potassium, the nutrient that is known to lower high blood pressure. Potassium is also an electrolyte that regulates blood pressure during physical exercise.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, the nutrient that is essential for collagen synthesis. Collagen keeps your skin supple and strengthens your hair.
According to a German study, lycopene and beta-carotene can protect the skin against sunburn. Beta-carotene is also known to prevent certain skin conditions like psoriasis and vitiligo.
The vitamin A in watermelon is another important nutrient that contributes to skin health – it repairs and creates new skin cells. Without the nutrient, your skin would appear dull and flaky.
Vitamin C plays a major role here as the nutrient is good for the bones and aids wound healing. A Switzerland study suggests that lycopene supplementation can prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Vitamin A in watermelons has been linked to bone growth.
One of the best watermelon health benefits is that it aids in healthy weight loss too. Yes, given its high water content, watermelon can fill you up for fewer calories. Water has also been found to speed up metabolism and flush out toxins and fats, which eventually might contribute to weight loss.
One wedge of watermelon has just about 86 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, and no cholesterol. It provides 22 grams of carbs and 5% of your daily fiber requirement, making it a great food for fat burning and weight loss.