9 Benefits of Watermelon Nutrition – For Which It Serves and Properties
Watermelon is a delicious and refreshing fruit. But in addition it also amazing properties. We will explore the benefits of watermelon, show what this fruit is for in terms of health and fitness.
A little history about watermelon nutrition
The watermelon is native to Africa, believed to be more specifically the Kalahari Desert region. There are reports of watermelon cultivation in Egyptian hieroglyphics. They placed the fruit inside the tombs of the Pharaohs, so they could “eat after death.” It arrived in China, a place whose cultivation flourished since it is the world’s largest fruit producer during the 10th century. The Moors introduced it to Europe in the 13th century. The coming to the American continent dates from the sixteenth century. In the European Union, it is an inheritance of African slaves.
The following will address some forms of consumption, to what purpose, the properties and benefits of watermelon to human health.
What is watermelon nutrition for?
The watermelon is a tasty fruit and very refreshing, a good request for the summer. It can be eaten in slices or pieces, in the form of juices or in fruit salads.
It is very consumed in dry regions of the African continent because about 92% of its content is water.
But it’s not just your pulp that’s edible. Many places make use of peel and watermelon nutrition seeds. With the bark, preserves can be made. For this, the fruits of organic plants are preferable since the bark will be free of pesticides. Roasted seeds are consumed by the people of the Middle East. The Indians, in turn, prepare a loaf of bread made from the seeds.
Properties of watermelon nutrition
As we have already seen, the watermelon nutrition is composed mostly of water, which makes it, therefore, a low-calorie food: 100g of the fruit provides only 30 calories coming mainly from sugars because the amounts of proteins and fats are inexpressive.
Despite the low calories, the fruit is very nutritious. Watermelon nutrition is an excellent source of vitamin C and has good amounts of carotenoids (such as lycopene and beta-carotene), vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper and the amino acid coralline. In the watermelon, we also find the phytonutrient cucurbitacin E. Their seeds contain significant amounts of lipids.
In summary, the main medicinal properties of watermelon are its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity. Let us see then what the consumption of watermelon nutrition can bring of benefits to our health.
Benefits of watermelon nutrition – What is it for?
Next, learn about the benefits of watermelon and its properties for fitness and health.
1) Watermelon nutrition shows anti-inflammatory activity
Cucurbitacin E is a triterpenoid molecule, present in watermelon, which has an important anti-inflammatory activity. It is able to inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase (or COX), which is involved in inflammatory processes.
It also has an antioxidant action as it helps fight reactive oxygen species.
2) Watermelon nutrition is good for the heart
One cup of watermelon pulp contains approximately 250 mg of citrulline. When we ingest the fruit, citrulline is converted by our body, more precisely into the kidneys and the wall of blood vessels, into another amino acid, arginine. The enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS), produced by several cell types, uses arginine to synthesize nitric oxide gas, a potent vasodilator because it can relax the muscles present in the blood vessels. This provides a reduction in blood pressure which, when high, is an important risk factor for heart disease. In one study, obese middle-aged adults who consumed watermelon extract containing these amino acids experienced an attenuation of blood pressure.
Another constituent of watermelon, potassium, also has a vasodilators effect.
Antioxidants, such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, prevent oxidative stress, a situation that promotes the oxidation of proteins and lipids, leading to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
3) Watermelon is good for kidneys
Intake of watermelon nutrition increases the flow of urine excretion. It is considered a natural diuretic and does not pressure the kidneys for this. Eliminating more urine is good for the kidneys and for the whole organism, since this way we get rid of bacteria (and thereby prevent and stop cystitis), waste and another xenobiotic (compounds foreign to the human body).
The potassium present in watermelon also stimulates this cleansing of the kidneys. In addition, the presence of this chemical element in the blood prevents the formation of uric acid, which when it starts to accumulate can lead to the famous kidney stones, as well as diseases that affect the joints (such as gout).
4) Watermelon is good for the eyes
Watermelon nutrition is a good source of beta-carotene, which in our body is transformed into vitamin A. The benefits of this vitamin for eye health are notorious: vitamin A prevents nocturnal blindness and prevents the occurrence of age-related macular degeneration.
5) Watermelon is good for muscles
Watermelon is rich in potassium, an electrolyte essential for the process of muscle contraction and for the transmission of nerve impulses.
The amino acid citrulline found in watermelon also brings benefits to the muscles. In a poll published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, seven male athletes consumed one hour before training, 500 ml of natural watermelon juice, or watermelon juice enriched with citrulline or placebo. The results revealed that they had a reduction in heart rate as well as post-workout muscle pain (i.e. the following day). As we have seen, citrulline is converted to arginine in our body, and this, in turn, provides the synthesis of vasodilator nitric oxide. The study also revealed that natural juice was as effective as the enriched form and that the intestine is able to absorb more citrulline from watermelon nutrition juice, especially if it is not pasteurized, than from supplements of that amino acid.
6) Watermelon nutrition is good for bones
One of the antioxidant agents found in watermelon nutrition, lycopene, stimulates the process of bone formation, thus preventing the development of osteoporosis. The postmenopausal period is very conducive to the occurrence of this disease. In a survey, postmenopausal women consumed lycopene, and a correlation was found between the consumption of lycopene and its antioxidant effect and the reduction of the bone “degradation” process.
Other studies have reported how lycopene can provide this benefit to the bone: it promotes the differentiation and proliferation of osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone matrix formation), and the functioning of the alkaline phosphatase enzyme (an enzyme synthesized by the osteoblast itself, which participates in this process of bone formation). In addition, lycopene prevents the process of differentiation of osteoclasts (cells responsible for reabsorption of the bone matrix) and the synthesis of reactive oxygen species that are harmful oxidizing agents.
7) Watermelon nutrition helps in the prevention and fight against cancer
The antioxidant defense of our organism is due to the activity of certain enzymes and the action of non-enzymatic agents, like some dietary nutrients. Watermelon nutrition is a food with a great antioxidant power because it has significant amounts of lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C. With the fruit consumption, we have a synergistic antioxidant action, which is a way to prevent and combat the most varied types of cancer.
One study revealed that oxidative stress situations in patients with cancer, when the amount of oxidizing agents exceeds this antioxidant defense of the organism, modify the expression of tumor suppressor genes (genes related to the cell cycle), promoting multiplication cancerous tissue.
Research also shows that lycopene helps prevent the occurrence of breast, endometrial, prostate, lung and colon cancer.
8) Watermelon nutrition helps prevent erectile dysfunction
Nitric oxide generated from ingestion of watermelon (i.e. citrulline, which is soon transformed into arginine) is also effective against erectile dysfunction. The gas promotes relaxation of the muscles of the blood vessels, which increases the supply of blood to the penis. The most famous drug against erectile dysfunction has the same mechanism of action.
9) Watermelon nutrition helps to lose weight
When we dieting or go into a process of food re-education, we may miss eating sweets. Watermelon is an excellent choice to dodge this desire: it is sweet, low calorie and a much healthier choice.
The consumption of the fruit also reduces the sensation of hunger, thanks to its great water content.