Watermelon is more than just your average picnic fare – this sweet, juicy fruit packs a surprising nutritional punch. Here are 8 reasons why you should slice one open today.
1. It’s Packed with Nutrition – Not Calories!
One serving – 2 cups of diced watermelon, or 1/18th of a medium melon – has just 80 calories. Plus, it’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and potassium.
2. It Helps Keep You Hydrated
92% of watermelon is – you guessed it – water! This makes it a great option for helping you stay hydrated. Whether you sliced it, cube it, juice it or blend it, watermelon is a perfect way to help meet your fluid needs.
3. It’s Loaded with Lycopene
Lycopene gives watermelon (as well as tomatoes, pink grapefruit and guava) its red color – and strong antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest lycopene can help prevent cardiovascular disease, while others show that it may help protect against certain cancers as well as cataracts. For the most lycopene, make sure your watermelon has a deep pink color, rather than a white-pink hue.
4. It’s Not Just for Summer
Watermelon may conjure up images of summer, but fresh watermelon is available year-round. It can be enjoyed on its own, or in recipes from breakfast smoothies to watermelon salsa, grilled watermelon, and even watermelon pudding. One of my favorite ways to start the day? This Watermelon Kiwi Smoothie!
5. It May Have Seeds—or Not!
Watermelon growers produce five main types of fruit including seeded, seedless, mini, yellow and orange. Traditional plant-breeding—not genetic modification—has created the new varieties of watermelons sold at farmers markets and supermarkets.
6. It Enhances Performance & Improves Recovery
While studies are still ongoing, several published reports suggest that watermelon fruit or juice (as well as supplements of citrulline) may enhance performance and speed up recovery post-exercise. How? By improving the body’s ability to transport oxygen to working muscles and reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness.
7. It Helps Keep Your Skin and Hair Healthy
Thanks to the fruit’s vitamin A and C, watermelon can help keep your hair and skin healthy. Vitamin A helps protect skin from UV-ray damage, while vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen, the foundation of your hair and skin. Vitamin C’s collagen-producing powers may help prevent against wrinkles and sun-related aging of your skin.
8. It’s Heart-Healthy
Among all of the produce picks, watermelon is the best source of citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid that our bodies convert to arginine, an essential amino acid that plays a key role in relaxing blood vessels, helping to improve blood flow. The potassium in this fruit also helps lower blood pressure.