It’s not uncommon to see watermelons everywhere, especially in the summer months. Whether whole or pre-sliced, produce sections are brimming with watermelons and they’re practically a dessert staple at family barbecues. So popular are they that there’s even a bevy of entertainment surrounding them—carving contests, festivals and creative recipe challenges exist across the country, all in the name of our love for this sweet and juicy fruit.
However, there’s much more to watermelons than their spectacular taste and people’s fascination with carving images in them. Here are some healthy and beauty benefits you can obtain by enjoying more watermelon.
1. Less inflammation
The World’s Healthiest Foods website has watermelon on its “top 100” list, right up there with superfoods like kale, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and salmon. There, it’s noted that watermelon is rich in lycopene—a phytochemical you might have heard in discussions of tomatoes—which is basically a kind of nutrient found in plant pigments. Foods high in this phytonutrient are linked to many health benefits.
For example, watermelon’s lycopene content helps to reduce inflammation that plays a role in the development and worsening of conditions like arthritis. Lycopene also has the ability to diminish lower, chronic levels of inflammation can lead to other health problems that are aggravated by smoking, pollution, and stress.
To ingest the most lycopene, be sure to eat watermelon when it’s as ripe as possible and the flesh is a deep red hue. Experts say that the darker the shade, the higher the lycopene and antioxidant levels.
2. Reduced risk of cancer
Several studies have indicated that watermelon’s lycopene content and high levels of vitamin C combine to help reduce the consumer’s risk of developing certain cancers. In particular, colon, lung, prostate, endometrial and breast cancers are all malignancies that watermelon’s nutrients may help to protect against. In fact, watermelon is so healthy that it’s even been dubbed as an anti-cancer food.
3. Increased hydration levels
A whopping 75% of Americans are considered to be chronically dehydrated, and not having enough water in the body can lead to everything from headaches to heatstroke, digestive difficulties, ulcers, and liver toxicity.
Watermelon to the rescue! It boasts a very high water content of 92%, which is great news for people who find it difficult to drink several glasses of water a day. Watermelon is a scrumptious alternative, and definitely worth considering as a way to complement your hydration efforts.
4. Gorgeous skin and hair
Who doesn’t want to have glowing skin and flawless hair? Eating watermelon can help make this dream a reality, as it’s loaded with Vitamin C and is a good source of Vitamin A. This combination is important because both vitamins play a role in ramping up the growth of collagen and elastin cells (which are critical to skin and hair health). As a result of regular watermelon consumption, skin and hair will be well-conditioned and moisturized.
5. Relief from muscle soreness
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that drinking watermelon juice prior to intense exercise can diminish the muscle soreness that’s often felt the following day. This is due to the fact that watermelon contains amino acids that boost circulation. Blood that is moving around the body properly often contributes to reductions in aches and pains. Those prone to such soreness (such as athletes and avid gym-goers) might want to consider enjoying some watermelon before a workout.
6. Eye health protection
Watermelon contains a multitude of nutrients that are associated with maintaining good eye health—beta carotene, vitamin-C, lutein, and zeaxanthin are just a few. These nutrients all work together to protect eyes from age-related macular degeneration and blindness, as well as dry eye and glaucoma.
Also Read: 7 Unhealthy Salad Toppings to Avoid
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should eat watermelon morning, noon and night. Eating too much of any one food can lead to health setbacks—it’s important to give your body a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. However, adding watermelon to the mix is a delicious way to give your health a lift and keep ailments at bay.