Showing posts with label watermelon nutrients. Show all posts
Showing posts with label watermelon nutrients. Show all posts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Watermelon–A Health Food!

Here’s more good news on your favorite summer foods.  First, we shared the health benefits of pineapple.  Now, we tell you why watermelon is not just a sweet summer treat, but a year-round healthy addition to your diet, and maybe even to your love life. 

Watermelon Health Benefits


You may have been told long ago that a watermelon is a great way to conquer thirst because it’s largely comprised of water (it is called a watermelon, after all).  True enough: At 92 percent water content, watermelon is a killer way to hydrate.  But that other 8 percent of the watermelon is quite impressive too – so much so that watermelon made the list on the not-for-profit site WHfoods.com (World's Healthiest Foods).  Here are seven reasons to add watermelon to your diet:

1.  Watermelon may equate to cancer protection


Watermelon is one of your best sources of lycopene. It contains even more lycopene than raw tomatoes, and in a more bioavailable form. Many studies have shown lycopene to be a protective agent in the fight against cancer.  And if you like the color of watermelon, thank lycopene, it's red pigmentation. 

2.  Watermelon helps with heart disease


Watermelon is heart-healthy for several reasons:
  • Watermelon contains the amino acid citrulline, which is beneficial to the entire circulatory system, and particularly the heart.
  • Watermelon contains a generous portion of potassium and magnesium – both good for the heart.
  • Watermelon’s lycopene content has been shown in studies to help prevent heart disease, and even protect the DNA contents of white blood cells. 
Not a fan of spitting watermelon seeds?  Here's a surprising bonus; the seedless variety of watermelon has more lycopene than seeded watermelon. 

3.  Watermelon ingredients repair cellular damage


A serving of watermelon is packed with over 12,000 IUs of vitamin A, providing you precisely the recommended daily amount.  Vitamin A is an important part of your body's ability to neutralize free radicals (What the Heck Are Free Radicals Anyway?) that, if not neutralized, can accelerate aging, damage tissue, and harm the body at the cellular level.

4.  Watermelon is vitamin C-dense


While a cup of watermelon only has 20 percent of the recommended daily minimum amount of vitamin C, let's not forget that:
  • Watermelon is more than 92 percent water, which means it is incredibly low in calories (45 per cup).  Per calorie, you're actually getting a whopping amount of vitamin C.
  • Who can eat just one cup of watermelon?  Have three and you’re more than half way to the RDA.
Like vitamin A, vitamin C is another important antioxidant, increasing the body's ability to fight illness.

5. Watermelon may be the next Viagra replacement!


A study in 2008 determined that the watermelon ingredient citrulline appears to deliver a Viagra-like effect on the body, relaxing the blood vessels.  PubMed confirms that citrulline is converted during consumption to arginine, and arginine pumps up the body's nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels. Scientists in this study even believe that this key ingredient in watermelon may someday be used to treat or even prevent erectile dysfunction. 

6.  Watermelon may control fat accumulation


Though the research is new in this area, scientists now suspect that watermelon’s citrulline content affects the body fat “deposition” – how and how much fat gets deposited.  In preliminary studies, high amounts citrulline in the diet generates peptides that block the enzymes that our fat cells use to create fat.  Although testing has only been done in animals so far, researchers suspect that citrulline in food may eventually be used to prevent over-accumulation of body fat.

7.  Watermelon is a healthy alternative to certain pre-workout and post workout supplements


Body builders and endurance athletes often take an arginine supplementation before a workout for its performance-enhancing benefits, including reducing fatigue during exercise.  As well, athletes sometimes use arginine supplementation after a workout to enhance post-exercise metabolic responses and for recovery benefits.

While some studies support the exercise benefit of citrulline, there are concerns over the safety of other ingredients found in many of the exercise supplements on the market.  If you want to boost your performance by increasing citruline, why not do so by consuming watermelon instead of supplements?  The citruline in watermelon is indisputably bioavailable, and packed with other antioxidant nutrients that will also aid in workout recovery.

Other watermelon benefits and watermelon information


While it may seem to be stretch, you can even use a watermelon as a kind of canteen.  According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, early explorers used watermelons as canteens.  Two ways to do this: 
  1. Hollow out the watermelon using this method to use the watermelon as a water carrier. 
  2. Just carry a fresh watermelon in your backpack.  Its 92-percent water content makes watermelon a flavorful hydration pack! 
Finally, if you prefer seeded watermelon, here’s good news; watermelon seeds have a little iron and zinc.  Though small in quantity, studies show that the iron and zinc in the seeds is up to 90 percent bioavailable. 
 

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer