What's So Great about Watermelon
Watermelon is a fruit that is synonymous with summer. The two seem to go hand-in-hand. If you have eaten watermelon, the first thing that one probably thinks of is the amount of "water" in this particular brand of fruit. As a matter of fact, watermelon is comprised of more than 90 per cent water.
Benefits of Watermelon
Aside from being a fruit that is mainly comprised of water, watermelon has many benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and contains a wealth of other nutrients that are beneficial to the human body.
Let's examine a few of the benefits associated with watermelon.
Watermelon is one of few foods that contains an abundance of citrulline. Citrulline when consumed interacts with enzymes in the body and is converted into an amino acid known as arginine which through a series of processes within the body, helps to reduce the amount of fat accumulation. As an amino acid, citrulline has the ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis which can be important for those trying to lose fat but not necessarily muscle mass. It also aids in relaxing the blood vessels in the body which can help lower the blood pressure and improve blood circulation.
Diuretic and Detox Agent
Watermelon functions as a natural diuretic which means that it may send you to the bathroom due to increased urine flow but this also means that it helps to keep the kidneys functioning at a high but non stressing level. In addition, watermelon consumption aids the liver in removal of waste that is related to protein ingestion.
Watermelon are rich in antioxidants --specifically the carotene antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene possesses the unique properties that help to neutralize free radicals in the body. This activity has the ability to affect a variety of processes that take place in the body.
First, it improves blood flow through vasodilation (relaxation) of the blood vessels. In simple terms, this helps to lower our blood pressure and enables the heart to pump more effectively, thus aiding in overall cardiac health.
Next, lycopene has the ability to reduce oxidative stress on our bones. What does this mean? It helps to decrease the activity and progress towards osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones overtime which can lead to an increased risk for fractures or breaks in the bone.
Finally, lycopene also has properties which fight against inflammation therefore aiding in reducing the severity of some conditions like asthma as well as the prevention of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Watermelon are rich in potassium which enables the body to hold onto calcium which can be beneficial to the maintenance of stronger bones as well as stronger joints. Potassium is also a wonderful electrolyte which can help improve the overall regulation of nerves and muscles in the human body. The electrolyte the degree and frequency to which the muscles are able to contract.
Watermelon contains beta-carotene which gives watermelon its red hue but also, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A. 11.1 percent of the daily value of vitamin A is found in watermelon. Vitamin A is important for eye health. Vitamin A helps to protect one against macular degeneration that may occur with age as well as prevention of night blindness.
Other benefits of vitamin A includes healthy skin and teeth.
Vitamin B, which is found in watermelon (vitamin B6 and vitamin B1) is a good for energy. Vitamin B6 possesses unique characteristics which can also help to improve one's immune system, enabling it to produce antibodies.
Watermelon contains 24.3 per cent of the daily value of vitamin C which aids in boosting immunity and can aid in healing of wounds.
Special Note about Watermelon Benefits
It is important to note that while these are all great benefits of eating watermelon, scientists have indicated that in order to see any of the above described effects, one would have to consume more than a single slice of watermelon. It would take up to six cups of watermelon to truly achieve some of the identified benefits.
Shopping for Watermelon
Shopping for watermelon can be tricky but there are a few tips that experts recommend when selecting a watermelon. Consider the following:
- Select watermelons that are symmetrical and firm
- Avoid watermelons that have cuts or appear to have bruises
- Yellow areas on one side of the watermelon are deemed to be a good sign and can be an indicator that the watermelon has spent time ripening under the sun.
- Slapping a melon is a good way to test for ripeness. A hollow melon sound is another indicator of ripeness (similar to the sound of your chest vs. your belly)
- Pick it up. The watermelon should be heavy for it's size given the fact it is mainly comprised of water.
In summary, watermelon is a fruit that is rich in antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to the body. These antioxidants and nutrients help to promote cardiac, eye, immunity and liver health. To reap the full benefits of a watermelon, it is crucial that when shopping, you select a watermelon that is ripe.
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