The Watermelon (Scientific Name: Citrullis lanatus) is one fruit that has been the focus of intensive research in recent times, even as more of its health benefits are being unravelled by the day. Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, the watermelon is related to other fruits like cucumber, pumpkin, squash and cantaloupe. It’s no surprise at all that the watermelon is so called, given its amazing 92% water composition which makes it extremely juicy and refreshing especially in a hot weather. Interestingly, every part of the watermelon is nutrient-rich from the thick greenish outer rind to the red or pink inner flesh. Furthermore, the watermelon is a very rich source of important nutrients ranging from vitamins and minerals to important antioxidants, hence the numerous health benefits that this amazing fruit offers. Moreover, researches have revealed that the watermelon is more nutritious when it becomes fully ripe. For instance, the lycopene content of a watermelon becomes richer and more concentrated as the flesh turns from white-pink to pink and finally to red. Consequently, a ripe watermelon offers more benefits as follows:
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Watermelon gives a boost to the functioning of your heart. The National Watermelon Promotion Board reported that watermelon has a higher lycopene content than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene-rich diets are cardioprotective. Similarly, potassium which is present in good amounts in watermelons also offers significant protection against cardiovascular disease by dilating the blood vessels and lowering the blood pressure.
Furthermore, a study that was published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts reduced blood pressure in some obese adults with hypertension.
Good for your Skin
Watermelon is a fruit that has proved highly beneficial for the skin. Apart from keeping the skin well hydrated, it is also rich in vitamin A, an important nutrient for sebum production which keeps the hair and skin supple and moisturized. In addition, Vitamin C is needed in the formation of collagen which is necessary to maintain the structure and integrity of the skin.
Protects against Diabetes
Being a tasty, high-fibre and low-calorie fruit, watermelon is a fruit of choice for diabetic individuals. The L-citrulline content is converted to arginine which has been shown to enhance the function of the sugar-lowering hormone, insulin. In the same vein, potassium and magnesium found in watermelons also promote the effect of insulin in the body and thus help to keep blood sugar within safe limits in people with diabetes.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Watermelon has been shown to offer some protection against cancers. Free radical formation contributes to DNA mutations that result in cancer. Fortunately, watermelon has a rich content of antioxidants like vitamins C and A which help to mop up free radicals. More still, watermelon and tomatoes are evidently your best sources of lycopene which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, breast, colon and lungs
Watermelon is 92% water hence in a hot weather, it can be particularly refreshing as it helps to replenish the insensible water loss from your skin, thereby protecting you from dehydration and heat stroke.
Helps in Treatment of Impotence
Research has shown that when sufficient quantities of watermelon are consumed, it can provide a Viagra-like effect in treating erectile dysfunction. It contains arginine which can be converted to Nitric Oxide (NO), a compound that helps to dilate the blood vessels of the penis and thereby enhance erection.
Reduces Risk of Kidney Disorders
Good hydration provided by watermelon helps to flush the kidneys regularly and keeps them functioning optimally. In addition, by reducing the concentration of uric acid in the blood, watermelons reduce the incidence of calculus (stone) formation in the kidneys. Furthermore, since watermelon is rich in antioxidants, the likelihood of free-radical damage to the kidneys is less in individuals who consume watermelon.
Reduces Muscle Soreness
This is especially good news for athletes who often experience muscle pain after indulging in strenuous exercises. Research has attributed this muscle-relaxing effect to the L-citrulline content of watermelons.
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