Watermelon: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, and Risks
Watermelon, named so due to its high water content, is one of the most refreshing and hydrating fruits. Did you know that this fruit contains nearly 92% water?
In fact, this is one of the reasons why early explorers preferred carrying watermelons over water containers to quench thirst. Watermelons are not only excellent for hydration, but they are also high in nutritional content and low in calories, making them popular among weight watchers.
In this article, we take a look at some of the watermelon nutrition facts. You will also get to know about watermelon’s benefits and its side effects.
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Watermelon Nutrition Facts
According to the Watermelon nutrition USDA data, 100 g of the fruit has the following nutritional values:
|Vitamin C||8.1 mg|
|Vitamin A||28 µg|
Watermelon is a large, juicy fruit and finds its earliest antecedents in South Africa. Since then, the fruit has gone through various genetic variations and mutations. Today you can find nearly a thousand different varieties of this melon across the world.
30KCal of energy is a low amount and thus healthy for your body. Studies suggest it is an okay amount for even people who are obese or have diabetes. However, make sure not to have too many servings as the high energy may get converted to unwanted fat.
There are 11.6 grams of carbs found in 100 grams of watermelon, most are simple sugars. This has a significant effect on its glycemic index. The index tells how fast any food can raise your blood sugar levels after consumption. In watermelons, it’s between 72 to 80, which is high.
A cup of watermelon contains 46 calories. These are less, considering the average person is allowed around 2000 calories a day. So, you can add watermelon to your diet without hesitation. However, due to the high carb content, it may not suit diets like keto.
That’s right! 100 grams of Watermelon has only about 0.2 grams of fat. In fact, the little fat it has is mostly in the seeds, which have healthy omega-3 fatty acids. So, it is safe to consider it a non-fat food when you are on a particular diet.
A serving of watermelon has 9.2 grams of sugar. This is not high considering the American Heart Association’s guidelines suggest the average person can consume 25 to 30 grams of sugar in a day. But those at risk of high blood sugar levels must consult their doctor before making this fruit a part of their diet.
A serving of watermelon has only 0.6 grams of fiber. This is low and can cause digestive problems because watermelon’s sugar content is mostly fructose which needs fiber to get digested properly. So, make sure you have any other good source of fiber in your diet.
Vitamins A & C
The nutritional value of watermelon is high considering it has 8.1mg of Vitamin C and 28 µg of Vitamin A. Both these nutrients are highly cherished in our bodies. While vitamin C helps improve immunity and reduces the speed of aging, vitamin A helps our eyes stay healthy.
Watermelon nutrition doesn’t end at proteins and vitamins. A 100 gram serving of this fruit has 4530 µg of lycopene. This antioxidant prevents the damage of oxidative stress in the body. Thus, helping improve skin health, maintain proper blood pressure, and also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
The 0.9 grams of protein in watermelon is not enough if you are on a protein-centric diet. But proteins are essential to developing the muscles in our body. Thankfully, you can get more protein out of a watermelon, by sprouting its seeds and consuming them.
With 1.5 mg of sodium – an essential electrolyte, watermelon helps ensure your body’s fluid balance stays intact. This helps prevent electrolyte imbalance, thus helping prevent dehydration symptoms. With the correct amount of sodium in your body, you also improve functions like muscle contraction and keep your blood pressure in check.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Watermelon
1. Provides hydration
Enough can’t be said about the wonders that watermelon can do for your hydration levels. If you have young kids at home who do not like drinking water, a couple of slices of this delicious fruit is enough to keep them hydrated, especially during summers.
Feeling dehydrated? Grab a couple of cups of watermelon and you are all set.
2. Regulates blood pressure
Another watermelon benefit includes blood pressure regulation. This fruit acts as a diuretic and encourages the elimination of excess sodium content.
Watermelon is also high in potassium which prevents increases in blood pressure. By regulating sodium and supplementing potassium, this fruit regulates blood pressure and in effect maintains your heart health. In addition, the lycopene content also helps in maintaining your heart health.
3. Reduces inflammation
Watermelon is rich in carotenoid, an antioxidant powerhouse that plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health and regulating blood pressure. It also contains a host of other antioxidants such as flavonoids and triterpenoids.
All these antioxidants work together in bringing down a component known as CRP or C Reactive Protein, an inflammatory marker.
4. Encourages weight loss
We already know that watermelon is extremely low in calories, fats, and proteins. As a result, it is a highly recommended fruit for those on a diet to lose weight. Since this melon is high in water content, it promotes satiety. It also contains a host of nutrients and meets some of the nutritional requirements of your body.
A review article published in the Nutrients Journal elucidates that this fruit helps in reducing body weight, body mass index, and works against the co-morbidities associated with obesity.
5. Lowers the risk of infections
Exposures to infections are a common occurrence in this fast-paced world. The antioxidants in watermelon build your body’s resistance and encourage cell repair both of which help lower the risk of infections and help you recover quickly from ailments.
Also Read: Post Workout Nutrition: A Complete Guide
6. Reduces muscle fatigue:
Physical exertion often results in muscle fatigue, whether it is due to the nature of your work, endurance activities, or workouts. Citrulline, an important amino acid present in watermelon is believed to ease muscle fatigue during workouts.
More research is needed to prove this characteristic feature. Still, consuming watermelon is known to be refreshing and helps you recover from fatigue quickly post workouts.
7. Promotes anti-aging and skin health
The antioxidants and amino acids present in watermelon encourage cell and tissue repair and prevent further damage. In addition, watermelon possesses hydrating properties. As a result, watermelon has many benefits for your skin. In addition, the antioxidant properties of watermelon reduce the occurrence of free radicals
This is why many women prefer drinking watermelon smoothies and juices on a regular basis.
Watermelon benefits for skin include
- Skin hydration and moisturization
- Skin repair and protection
- Skin regeneration
- Protection from free radicals and UV rays.
8. Enhances your mood
Watermelon is rich in electrolytes and nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants. Being nutrient-rich, this fruit promotes the functioning of neurotransmitters, which in turn improves your mood.
In addition, watermelon is also known to balance out your hormones, which in turn, enhances your mood.
Women suffering from mood swings as a result of PMS or pregnancy can rely on watermelon and watermelon juice to feel better and balance out their wavering hormone levels.
9. Improves digestion
Even though an average serving of watermelon does not have enough fiber, its water content helps to improve your digestion. They also regulate bowel movement and keep your digestive system working well. So, if you constantly face issues like constipation, adding watermelon to your diet can be beneficial.
10. Improves Eye Health
Watermelon is high in Vitamin A and carotene, both of which are extremely important for maintaining healthy vision. In addition, Vitamin A contributes to retina health and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
Suffering from itchy eyes? Have a few slices of watermelon. The hydrating properties of this fruit reduce itching and relieve irritation.
Other Benefits of Watermelon:
In terms of watermelon benefits, we have just managed to scratch the surface. This wholesome fruit has many more benefits such as:
- Keep your mucous membrane healthy. This membrane helps protect the organs inside your body (like your nose) that may be exposed to air
- Maintaining dental health
- Protecting you from cancers
- Preventing and reducing the occurrence of diabetes
- Improving insulin sensitivity
Can we eat watermelon on empty stomach?
Yes, having watermelon on an empty stomach can help with digestion, regulate your bowel movement, keep your skin healthy, improve your cardiac health, and keep you away from cancers.
So, as you can see watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse. If you are in the habit of juicing or having smoothies first thing in the morning, having watermelon juice can be greatly helpful.
Watermelon juice calories and benefits:
The watermelon juice calories stay at zero, making it one of the best drinks to consume. Watermelon juice benefits are the same as those of eating watermelon.
Drinking this juice aids weight loss helps in easy digestion, maintains heart health, and maintains the health of your skin and eyes. The antioxidant properties of watermelon juice fight infections and prevent premature aging.
Watermelon Side Effects:
Moderate consumption of watermelon doesn’t cause any visible side effects. It only has benefits. However, eating too much watermelon does cause side effects. Some of them include:
- Diarrhea and indigestion
- Increase in blood sugar levels
- Cardiovascular problems
- Overhydration and hyponatremia
It must be noted that these side effects only happen with excess consumption of watermelon or watermelon juice.
In rare cases, some people may have food allergies to watermelon and must stay away from consuming this fruit.
Watermelon is a powerhouse of hydration and nutrition. Having watermelon as a fruit or in juice form has many benefits. The hydrating, nutrient, and antioxidant properties of watermelon provide you with a host of therapeutic benefits.
Moderate consumption of watermelon is the best way to enjoy all the health and wellness benefits of this water-rich fruit.