The Wonders of Watermelon. There are so many great things about watermelon that go beyond descriptions of its taste and freshness. Here are some of the wonders of watermelon:
Watermelon proudly (and deservedly) is American Heart Association Heart-Check Certified. It is cholesterol-free, fat-free, sodium-free, and has 80 calories per serving.
Watermelon also contains nutrients that support heart health, like magnesium (6% DV), which helps keep the heartbeat steady and phosphorus (2% DV), which has a role in the electrical activity of the heart.
Promising, But Preliminary
Exciting new areas of study suggest that an amino acid called L-citrulline (286- 1266 mg per 2 cup serving) in watermelon may help to support vascular health and help maintain healthy blood flow. Larger and longer term studies are needed to demonstrate this effect in other populations.
Another exciting area of study is the role of lycopene (a carotenoid found in watermelon and other red produce) in maintaining heart health. Lycopene (12.7 grams of lycopene per 2 cup serving) has been studied for its potential to reduce blood pressure in those with prehypertension or hypertension. Whether consuming watermelon will achieve the results shown in this study in the general population is not yet known. Further research is needed with larger sample sizes and longer duration is needed to fully determine the clinical implications.
Sure, watermelon satisfies your “sweet-tooth”, but it is nutrient-dense. The Food & Drug Administration explains:
Nutrient-dense foods and beverages contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other beneficial substances that may have positive health effects.
Nutrient-dense foods are also naturally lean or low in saturated fat and have little or no added saturated fat, sugars, refined starches, and sodium.
Examples of nutrient dense foods are: beans and peas, eggs, fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products, fruits, lean meats and poultry, seafood, unsalted nuts and seeds, vegetables, and whole grains.
The FDA says that this is important because diets lower in added sugars and higher in nutrient-dense foods and beverages can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Oh. So. Sweet.
A Bite of Hydration
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a delicious way to rehydrate. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that daily fluid intake (total water) is defined as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water, and other beverages.
The Mayo Clinic agrees that you don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight.
92% water – but who’s counting?
The Mayo Clinic explains that water (like in watermelon) is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight.
Your body depends on water to survive.
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Watermelon provides about 12.7 mg of lycopene per 2-cup serving. (USDA Food Composition Database)
- Watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable (12.7 mg per 2-cup serving) and is part of a healthy diet.
|Fruit or Vegetable
|Amount of Lycopene
|2 cups, diced
|Flesh of 1 small grapefruit
|1 small whole
|1 cup, 1 inch pieces
|1 cup, chopped
Promising But Preliminary
Some observational studies have shown an association between a diet rich in the antioxidant lycopene, as well as those using supplemental lycopene and reduced risk of some types of cancer, including breast, prostate and lung cancers. However, thus far, research results are inconsistent in these areas and randomized controlled trials have not demonstrated a benefit to consuming lycopene from food or supplements. However, there is a large and growing body of research Into the mechanistic and dose-relational effects of lycopene consumption.
Although more research and clinical trials are needed, systematic reviews and meta-analyses link the consumption ofcarotenoids, like lycopene, to a role in maintaining healthy skin. While research indicates that consumption of lycopene and other carotenoids, may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation, it is not a substitute for the the topical use of a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor which offers topical protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays!
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