Watermelon is a super-healthy and refreshing fruit that’s also good for you. It contains only 46 calories per cup but is high in vitamin C, vitamin A and many healthy plant compounds.
Below are 5 health benefits of eating watermelon:
May help prevent cancer: Researchers have studied lycopene and other individual plant compounds in watermelon for their anti-cancer effects. Though lycopene intake is associated with a lower risk of some types of cancer, study results are mixed. The strongest link so far seems to be between lycopene and cancers of the digestive system (1Trusted Source).
It appears to reduce cancer risk by lowering insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein involved in cell division. High IGF levels are linked to cancer. In addition, cucurbitacin E has been investigated for its ability to inhibit tumour growth.
May improve heart health: Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Lifestyle factors, including diet, may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Several nutrients in watermelon have specific benefits for heart health.
Studies suggest that lycopene may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also help prevent oxidative damage to cholesterol. According to studies in obese, postmenopausal women and Finnish men, lycopene may also reduce the stiffness and thickness of artery walls.
May help to relieve muscle soreness: Citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, may reduce muscle soreness. It’s also available as a supplement. Interestingly, watermelon juice appears to enhance the absorption of citrulline.
One small study gave athletes plain watermelon juice, watermelon juice mixed with citrulline or a citrulline drink. Both watermelon drinks led to less muscle soreness and quicker heart rate recovery, compared to citrulline on its own.
Good for skin and hair: Two vitamins in watermelon — A and C — are important for skin and hair health. Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin supple and your hair strong. Vitamin A is also important for healthy skin since it helps create and repair skin cells. Without enough vitamin A, your skin can look dry and flaky.
Both lycopene and beta-carotene may also help protect your skin from sunburn.
May lower inflammation: Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases. Watermelon may help lower inflammation and oxidative damage, as it’s rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidants lycopene and vitamin C.
In a 2015 study, lab rats were fed watermelon powder to supplement an unhealthy diet. Compared to the control group, they developed lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and less oxidative stress.