A quintessential summer snack, watermelon satisfies your sweet tooth while also keeping you cool and refreshed. What’s more? All parts of the fruit are edible: the flesh is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, the rind contains antioxidants and fibre and the seeds are high in protein and good fats. No matter how you slice it, this superfood is loaded with health benefits! Read on to learn why we’re all about watermelon this month.
It’s right there in the name—this melon is an excellent source of water. Researchers suggest that watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa for their high water content, so they could be stored and consumed during the dry season. Hydration is essential for every cell in your body, and getting enough water is especially important during the hot summer months. This superfood’s water and fibre content work together to promote a healthy gut, preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements. Sufficient water intake is also vital for keeping your skin healthy and radiant.
According to a recent study, watermelon is touted as the best source of lycopene, usurping the throne from tomatoes. Lycopene is a phytonutrient and natural pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes and grapefruit their red colour. It also has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Lycopene has been linked to decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related eye disorders. To maximize your intake of lycopene, choose a watermelon variety with deep red flesh and allow it to ripen fully—the redder, the better!
Watermelon is a rich source of the amino acid citrulline, concentrated in the rind and the white flesh nearest to it (but you can also get it from watermelon extract). Citrulline is readily used by the body, and with the help of enzymes, it’s converted into arginine (another amino acid). Arginine is important for maintaining cardiovascular health, as it stimulates nitric oxide in the body, which relaxes the blood vessels and may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. The dilation of blood vessels also helps to increase oxygen delivery to the muscles, improving exercise performance and recovery after working out.