It’s almost summer again so there’s never a better time to add more fresh, juicy watermelon to your diet. Watermelon is in peak season between July and August but remains in season from May until September. Watermelon thrives in hot, sunny weather, as they are native to Africa. Adding more watermelon to your diet is not only a delicious option, but it can also provide many health benefits, and some may be surprising.
Watermelon contains 92 percent water, so it is an excellent choice if you are having a hard time staying hydrated, too (1). It is one of the highest fruits containing water. Although watermelon is technically a citrus fruit, it is also a member of the gourd family (Citrullus Lantus), similar to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin.
This fruit is high in vitamin A and vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants, and even potassium, making it extremely healthy and beneficial for the body (2). Watermelon is so nutritious, you can even eat the rinds. Watermelon rind is equally nutritious.
Fun Fact:There are over 1000 types of watermelon, all in different shapes, colors and sizes.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Watermelon
- Potential Risk Factors of Eating Watermelon
Health Benefits of Watermelon
Let’s talk about the many health benefits of watermelon and how it can help boost immunity, prevent chronic disease, and much more.
1. It May Improve Skin Health
Maintaining good skin can be hard for many people, and diet can oftentimes be overlooked as a solution. But, adding the right foods to your diet more often can be a huge missing piece for improving skin health in many ways. Watermelon is rich in antioxidants like lycopene, which can boost skin health (3).
From dry skin to acne-prone skin, everyone craves more nutrients to keep it supple and healthy overall. Watermelon provides a wide array of vitamins and nutrients, some of which are essential for skin health, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, and potassium (4). Vitamin C and potassium support the growth of skin cells and vitamin A can improve wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and more. All the vitamins in watermelon work together to produce collagen, which is necessary to keep the skin healthy (5). Collagen is a protein in the skin that provides structure and support.
Watermelon also contains vitamin E, an essential nutrient to provide elasticity to the skin (6). The high water content in watermelon, 92 percent, also contributes to making sure skin stays hydrated. Without the proper hydration, skin can become damaged over time. If you’re looking for more glowing skin, a simple addition of more fruit like watermelon can help.
Summary:Watermelon contains skin-promoting nutrients, some of which include vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin E, and potassium.
2. It May Help Relieve Joint Pain and Inflammation
Watermelon is not only great for the skin, but it can also even help to improve joint pain and inflammation. When inflammation remains under control, it is less likely to develop disease since the disease can only survive in an inflamed state.
Watermelon is very high in potassium, which is essential to keep joints functioning well and prevent injury. A diet low in potassium can cause muscle spasms, aches, cramps, stiffness, and even heart palpitations. There are a few other reasons watermelon can help with joint pain and inflammation, too. Watermelon is high in the carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin, which many studies show lowers the inflammatory marker CRP or C-Reactive Protein (7).
See if adding more watermelon to your diet helps if you are experiencing muscle soreness and lacking in your water intake.
Summary:Because of its high potassium content, eating watermelon can help prevent pain in the joints and may prevent muscle soreness.
3. It May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer
The antioxidants in watermelon are so powerful they can even help to protect against certain types of cancer. That is because antioxidants help the body naturally fight free-radical buildup, preventing cell damage (8). Watermelon is high in the antioxidant called lycopene, which breaks down harmful free radicals in the body. It’s also the same antioxidant that is in tomatoes and pink guava (9). The more antioxidants you include in your diet from fruits and vegetables, the better your chances will be of slowing down cell damage (10).
Watermelon also contains non-protein amino acids, which help to repair body tissue. There are nutrients in all parts of the watermelon, the flesh, seeds, and even the rind. Some nutrients in all parts of the watermelon include carbohydrates, carotenoids, alkaloids, and flavonoids.
Watermelon is also high in vitamin C, which also further helps to decrease free radicals in the body. Including more watermelon can help prevent problems in the prostate and the adrenal glands (11).
Summary:Watermelon contains tons of antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C, which can help prevent cell damage furthermore preventing certain types of cancer in the body.
4. It May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Watermelon can also prevent the number one chronic disease in America, cardiovascular disease (12). Due to its high nutrient and antioxidant profile, watermelon is a powerful food to assist with warding off heart problems. Heart problems can range from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, and more.
Not only is watermelon high in heart-healthy antioxidants, but it is also full of an essential amino acid called citrulline. Citrulline helps to move blood through the body more efficiently, and in turn, can lower blood pressure (13). Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the major chronic diseases affecting millions of Americans every day (14).
Watermelon can be a beneficial addition to your diet for many reasons, especially if you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease (15). Keep in mind that eating too much watermelon can have the opposite effect due to excess potassium. Moderation is a crucial element to monitor, although overeating watermelon is typically very unlikely.
Summary:Watermelon is a food that contains heart-healthy antioxidants and amino acids, which can help prevent heart issues and heart disease.
5. It May Help with Weight Loss
Weight management is one of the hardest things for Americans to attain, as the rise of obesity steadily increases. A healthy balanced diet and lifestyle are essential to lose and maintain long-term weight loss. Can watermelon help? Fruit can often fall into a ‘bad’ category when it comes to diets but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Watermelon, which is a type of fruit, is rich in potassium, antioxidants, and amino acids. It also has a high water content and can make you feel fuller faster and longer, which can help with losing and maintaining weight loss.
Reductions in body mass index, body weight, and even blood pressure can improve with daily consumption of watermelon, according to some studies by the National Institutes of Health (16) (17). Lycopene, a carotenoid in tomatoes and watermelon can help prevent many chronic diseases such as obesity (18). Add some more watermelon to your diet if you are struggling with weight loss and see if it can help you.
Summary:Some studies have shown that watermelon can be a food that may help with weight loss, likely because of its high water content which can increase satiety more quickly than other foods.
6. It May Aid in Digestive Health
Not only can watermelon be a powerhouse fruit for many areas of the body, but it can also even help to improve digestive health. Watermelon may even help to reduce acid reflux, one of the most common digestive problems in the United States (19). Incorporating more fruits and vegetables, in general, helps to diminish your chance of having digestive upset.
One reason watermelon is helpful for digestion is that it is extremely high in water. Watermelon is made up of 92% water, and proper hydration is crucial to maintain a healthy weight and keeping the digestive system running smoothly.
Watermelon also has a small amount of fiber that aids in better digestion in combination with enough water. Do you suffer from digestive distress? See if adding more watermelon along with other fruits and veggies helps improve your digestion.
Summary:Watermelon has been noted as a food that may help with acid reflux and improving digestion, which can promote overall digestive health.
7. It May Have Neuroprotective Properties
Did you know that eating high amounts of antioxidants is essential to maintaining a healthy brain? A healthy diet rich in essential nutrients, including antioxidants and carotenoids like those in watermelon can aid in protecting the brain from cognitive decline. To get the most benefit from watermelon, be sure the fruit is nice and red and ripe.
Another vital reason watermelon helps maintain a healthy brain is its water content. The brain is made up of 73 percent water, so staying hydrated is critical for memory, retention, and focus. If watermelon is not your thing, simply include enough water in your day-to-day help. But if you add more watermelon, you can also get the added benefits of antioxidants like lycopene which can reduce brain inflammation (20).
Summary:Watermelon is high in water content which can help maintaining hydration and high in antioxidants, which may promote a healthy brain.
Potential Risk Factors of Eating Watermelon
While watermelon is typically a safe fruit to eat, it may not be the best option for everyone. Most risk factors and side effects only occur in large quantities, but it’s important to note certain cases that may be different for your particular body.
The best rule for any healthy food is everything in moderation. Do what works best for your unique physiology and know that overconsumption is very unlikely for most people.
Risk Factors and Side Effects of Too Much Watermelon:
- If eating watermelon often, there may be a risk of increasing blood sugar levels. Although watermelon is a low-glycemic food and will only have a slight risk of increasing blood sugar levels, certain people may need to pay particular attention to their sugar levels. Watermelon is typically safe for those who do not have to monitor their blood sugar levels or have diabetes.
- High amounts of watermelon can react with alcohol, because of its high lycopene content, increasing the risks of liver inflammation. However, when eaten in moderation, watermelon can also benefit liver health by reducing inflammatory markers.
- Overeating watermelon can cause water intoxication because it is so high in water. Water intoxication can deplete the body’s sodium intake and cause swelling in the legs.
- While a moderate amount of watermelon may aid heart health, too much watermelon can provide the body with too much potassium and create a rapid heartbeat.
Eating a moderate amount of watermelon is safe for most people, while overconsumption can cause the opposite health effects. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner if you are unsure what foods work best with your health conditions.
Summary:Watermelon is generally a low-risk food to consume, however some people who need to watch the amount of sugar and potassium they consume should proceed with caution with watermelon or ask their healthcare providers.
Watermelon can have a wide range of health benefits, but it also can have negative side effects if consumed in bulk. Keep in mind that this is very rare. The health benefits of watermelon are mainly due to its high amount of water, potassium, vitamins A, C, and more. It is also high in heart-healthy antioxidants like lycopene, which makes it an excellent choice to aid in chronic disease and cancer prevention.
From preventing joint pain and muscle soreness to aiding skin health and digestive health, watermelon makes an impressive and easy fruit to snack on, especially in the hot summer months. See how you might add more watermelon to your diet today to reap all the benefits.