Watermelon Health Benefits

No other fruit is as enjoyable on a hot summer day as sweet, juicy watermelon. With its high water content and delectable taste, it is the ultimate thirst quencher. In addition to its deliciousness, watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse. It is packed with antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins and other important compounds that have a variety of health-promoting effects.
Watermelons are an excellent source of several vitamins: vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health and is an antioxidant; vitamin C, which helps strengthen immunity, heal wounds, prevent cell damage, and promote healthy teeth and gums; and vitamin B6, which helps brain function and helps convert protein to energy.
Watermelon also contains the amino acids citrulline and arginine, which can help maintain arteries, blood flow and overall cardiovascular function.
Surprisingly, the health benefits of watermelon are tremendous given its nutritional content.

Lowers blood pressure
Watermelon contains a compound known as citrulline, which in the bloodstream, signals the body to release a compound that causes the blood vessels to dilate. As a result, blood flows through the vessels easily, causing less pressure on the vessel walls.

The research, led by food scientists at The Florida State University suggests that six weeks of L-citrulline extract from watermelon, reduced blood pressure and aortic wave reflection in middle aged individuals with pre-hypertension.

Pre-hypertension is classified as a blood pressure between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg. It is a precursor of hypertension, and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers in the 2010 American Journal of Hypertension suggested that intake of watermelon may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Boosts heart health, controls weight gain
In an animal study, researchers at the Purdue University and University of Kentucky found a diet including watermelon juice lower weight, cholesterol and arterial plaque.

In the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, they suggested that citrulline, a compound found in watermelon, plays a role in cardiovascular health by protecting the vessels and arteries from hardening.

The mice that consumed watermelon juice gained about 30 per cent less weight than the control group and had about 50 per cent less LDL cholesterol - the so-called bad cholesterol. The experimental group also had about a 50 per cent reduction in plaque in their arteries, as well as elevated levels of citrulline.

Protects from cancer
Watermelon is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene which contains twice the amount found in tomatoes. Watermelon also contains vitamins C and A, which play active role in the fight against several cancers such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

Chinese study showed in 2009 that the compounds found in watermelon, work to increase the programmed death in breast cancer cells.

Boosts libido and improves fertility
Watermelon may have Viagra-like effect.  It is a rich source of amino acid citrulline, which works to further expand the blood vessels, relax the body’s blood vessels, in a way similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra. This ensures the passage of more blood vessels to the penis leading to erection.

According to a study done by Indian Association of Urologists, because of the lycopene content in this fruit, it is helpful in increasing male fertility by improving both sperm concentration and motility.

Prevents heat stroke
Watermelon is effective in reducing body temperature and blood pressure. Many people in the tropical regions eat the fruit to protect themselves from heat stroke. In many countries, Nigeria inclusive, the fruit is sold by vendors in almost every street.

Eases arthritis
Watermelon can serve as a diuretic, which means that it can help to maintain the balance between fluids and glucose in the body. Aside helping to keep the body hydrated  so helping to prevent arthritis, its rich beta-carotene and vitamin C content also contribute to reducing inflammatory processed associated with this disease.

 Drinking a big glass of watermelon juice is very effective in aiding the elimination of wastes. Consuming plenty of this red juice will do a lot of good.

Eases heartburn, morning sickness
Watermelon eases heartburn and reduces swelling; its high water content (92 per cent) and fruit sugars alleviate morning sickness and dehydration; and the minerals it contains can help prevent third-trimester muscle cramps. 

Interestingly, a 2003 study in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that daily lycopene supplements reduced the incidence of preeclampsia by 50 per cent. Test subjects were given four milligrammes of lycopene; a single serving of watermelon can have increase that effect by three folds.

Avert infections
 Watermelon plays an important role in the treatment of many infections in the body.  As a rich source of vitamin-C, it helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Cardiovascular & Bone Health
The lycopene in watermelon is especially important for our cardiovascular health and is now being recognized as an important factor in promoting bone health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has also been correlated with improved cardiovascular function because it improves blood flow via vasodilation (relaxation of blood pressure). Dietary lycopene (from foods like watermelon or tomatoes) reduces oxidative stress which normally reduces the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts (the two major bone cells involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis) – this means stronger bones for those consuming lycopene-rich foods. Watermelon is also rich in potassium which helps to retain calcium in your body, resulting in stronger bones and joints.

Reduces Body Fat
The citrulline in watermelon has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Citrulline is an amino acid which converts into arginine with help from the kidneys. When our bodies absorb citrulline it can take the step of converting into arginine if so required. Citrulline, when consumed, has the ability to (through a series of steps) block the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase) which makes our fat cells create less fat, and thus helps prevent over-accumulation of body fat.

Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Support
Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids. The carotenoid lycopene in watermelon is particularly beneficial in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. The tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E is also present in watermelon, which provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes which normally lead to increased inflammatory support. Make sure you pick ripe watermelons, because they contain higher amounts of these beneficial phenolic compounds.

Diuretic & Kidney Support
Watermelon is a natural diuretic which helps increase the flow of urine, but does not strain the kidneys (unlike alcohol and caffeine). Watermelons helps the liver process ammonia (waste from protein digestion) which eases strain on the kidneys while getting rid of excess fluids.

Muscle & Nerve Support
Rich in potassium, watermelon is a great natural electrolyte and thus helps regulate the action of nerves and muscles in our body. Potassium determines the degree and frequency with which our muscles contract, and controls the excitation of nerves in our body.

Watermelons have an alkaline-forming effect in the body when fully ripe. Eating lots of alkaline-forming foods (fresh, ripe, fruit and vegetables) can help reduce your risk of developing disease and illness caused by a high-acid diet (namely, meat, eggs and dairy).

Improves Eye Health
Watermelon is a wonderful source of beta-carotene (that rich red hue of watermelon = beta carotene) which is converted in the body to vitamin A. It helps produce the pigments in the retina of the eye and protects against age-related macular degeneration as well as prevents night blindness. Vitamin A also maintains healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

Immune Support, Wound Healing & Prevents Cell Damage
The vitamin C content in watermelon is astoundingly high. Vitamin C is great at improving our immune system by maintaining the redox integrity of cells and thereby protecting them from reactive oxygen species (which damages our cells and DNA). The role of vitamin C in healing wounds has also been observed in numerous studies because it is essential to the formation of new connective tissue. The enzymes involved in forming collagen (the main component of wound healing) cannot function without vitamin C. If you are suffering from any slow-healing wounds, up your intake of vitamin C heavy fruit!


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