FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE EATING WATERMELON THIS SUMMER
Watermelon is a summertime favorite and for some, it is their fruit of choice for the hot days, picnics, and BBQs. Crisp, juicy, and sweet, it feels almost sinful to indulge in slice after slice. While the taste of watermelon should keep you happy, knowing the health benefits will keep you coming back for one more piece.
1. Anti-hypertensive: In a 2010 pilot study, published in The American Journal of Hypertension, the authors used watermelon extract to successfully lower blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. The secret is in the nutrients – amino acids to be exact. L-citrulline and L-arginine are responsible for the results. According to the researchers, watermelon has the highest amount of L-citrulline of any edible natural food. L-citrulline is converted to L-arginine in the body and has a vasodilatory effect on blood vessels. Promising research for those concerned with their blood pressure.
2. Anti-cancer effects: Watermelon is rich in lycopene, the same phytochemical (cancer fighters) that is present in tomatoes. It is lycopene that gives watermelon its red hue. Lycopene has been well researched and contains properties that reduce oxidative stress (increases the risk for cancer). A study in the Journal of Medicinal Science showed that watermelon juice had anti-cancer effects in breast cancer cell lines. Research continues to give high marks to lycopene for its antioxidant properties – just another reason to grab a watermelon this summer.
3. Anti-inflammatory: Lycopene is also responsible for watermelon’s anti-inflammatory properties. Acute (short term) inflammation is normal, however, chronic inflammation is linked to autoimmune diseases, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating foods that specifically fight inflammation are beneficial to overall health. A study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology concluded that the lycopene in watermelon had strong anti-inflammatory properties and may be considered a functional food in the near future.
4. Hydration: According to The National Watermelon Promotion Board, 43% of Americans drink less than 4 cups of water per day. Acute dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, while long term dehydration can negatively affect kidney function. Watermelon is 92% water and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Drink…eat up. With one-thirds of all Americans indicating that they don’t drink enough water, watermelon is a nutritious choice for hydration.
5. Tasty: It tastes good and it is good for you. Two cups of watermelon will give you 30% of your daily amount of vitamin C and 25% of vitamin A. It’s naturally sweet and is also naturally fat free. It’s a refreshing summertime treat that is good for your body and your taste buds.
Fairhurst L. (2010) http://www.fsu.edu/news/2010/10/13/watermelon.study/.
Kim C, Park, M, Kim S, Cho Y. (2014) Antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory activity of lycopene in watermelon. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. 49(9): 2083-91.
Rahmat A, Rosli R, Endrini S, Abdullah H. (2002) Antiproliferative activity of pure lycopene compared to both extracted lycopene and juices from watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris) and papaya (Caricapapaya) on human breast and liver cancer cell lines. Journal of Medicinal Science, 2:55
The National Watermelon Promotion Board. http://www.watermelon.org/Nutrition/Hydration.