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Watermelon

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Watermelon Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 91.5 g
Calories: 30 kcal
Protein: 0.6 g
Carbohydrate: 7.6 g
Dietary fiber: 0.4 g
Sugars: 6.2 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 8.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 3 μg
Vitamin A: 28 μg
Vitamin E: 0.1 mg
Vitamin K: 0.1 μg
Calcium: 7 mg
Iron: 0.2 mg
Magnesium: 10 mg
Phosphorus: 11 mg
Potassium: 112 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 0.1 mg

Despite the conventional belief that watermelon is nothing more than water and sugar, you might be surprised to discover that it is actually classed as a nutrient dense food. The longer you leave it to ripen, the richer it becomes in these valuable vitamins and minerals.

Reduces Blood Pressure. Watermelon contains an amino acid and antioxidant called citrulline, which is thought to have some incredibly beneficial effects on the body, particularly the cardiovascular system. Scientists examined how taking a watermelon supplement affected blood pressure in thirteen obese adults. Half of them were given the supplement, the other half received a placebo.

After six weeks, the results showed that the watermelon supplement had decreased aortic blood pressure. This study shows that eating watermelon has a significant impact on reducing blood pressure, particularly in obese adults.

Relieve Post-Workout Muscle Soreness. It is also believed that citrulline can help relieve muscle soreness post-workout. A team of researchers led by Tarazona-Diaz recently discovered that this is indeed the case.

They gave seven athletes 500ml of watermelon juice, either naturally produced, enriched with extra citrulline or a placebo. Obviously the placebo had no effect, but both of the watermelon juices proved to have decreased the level of muscle soreness 24 hours after the workout, plus they also helped to reduce the recovery heart rate time.

Beneficial To Overall Heart Health. A very recent study has looked at how consumption of watermelon affects overall heart health in rats – namely lipid levels in the blood, cholesterol, inflammation and antioxidant capacity. They divided forty rats into four groups, based upon the diet and treatment they were to receive.

The groups that consumed the watermelon-rich diets experienced far lower levels of total cholesterol, as well as “bad” cholesterol and lipids in the blood; oxidative stress, which is damage to cells, was greatly reduced as well. The rats in the watermelon groups also had a greater antioxidant capacity than the placebo groups – this means that the watermelon provides a high level of antioxidants to fight against and remove harmful free radicals in the blood stream.

It is clear that watermelon is beneficial to overall heart health, although studies like this need more human trials to determine exactly how consumption of this juicy fruit affects our heart health.

May Help Prevent Lung Cancer. A study of more than 60,000 Chinese men was carried out recently to determine the effects their diets had on their likelihood of developing lung cancer. The researchers examined this likelihood by using food questionnaires and controlling for certain variables.

They followed the participants for a few years afterwards and found that 359 men had developed lung cancer during the first year, 68.8% of them were smokers. The results of the food questionnaires and the follow-up did find that those who had diets rich in leafy, green vegetables, watermelon and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin A were less likely to develop lung cancer.