Watermelon – Refreshing and Healthy

September 10, 2013 Nutrition

watermelonWatermelons are delicious and refreshing. On top of that, there are more and more studies showing that they are also very healthy.

The red color of watermelons is given by lycopene, the same component responsible for the red color of tomatoes. They are also rich in beta carotene, vitamin A and C. Both lycopene and beta carotene are associated with lower risk of cancer, probably because they boost the antioxidant levels. Moreover, research published in the American Journal of Nutrition showed that higher intake of lycopene in men reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

According to the same source, a 6 weeks treatment with watermelon extract in obese subjects helped reduce their blood pressure. An earlier study published in the Journal of Nutrition (in 2007) found that watermelon pomace improved the metabolic syndrome in diabetic rats. This study supports the hypothesis that watermelon and other fruit consumption is not harmful for type 2 diabetics. However, more research is necessary and you should avoid eating large quantities of watermelon if you suffer from diabetes.

One thing which is not very well known is that the sweet red part is not the only healthy part in watermelons. The white part, although not so sweet and tasty, contains silicon, which is important for the health of bones. In addition, it contains citrulline, an amino acid which strengthens the immune system and blood circulation. Last, but not least, the seeds are rich in proteins, so it could be eaten in salads. Another interesting effect of citrulline in men was revealed by an article in Science Daily: it relaxes blood vessels, having an effect similar to Viagra.

Its exceptional qualities make watermelon the perfect choice for a short detox diet of about three days. It is easier than other detox diets because you will easily feel full, it’s refreshing and delicious.

Watermelons should be kept at room temperature before cutting it up and then refrigerated. Otherwise, the levels of lycopene will be affected. Moreover, don’t keep them too much in the refrigerator, as the longer you keep them, the more nutritional benefits they lose.

Sources:

Green med info

Botanical online

Examiner