With a rather juicy pulp, watermelon is a fruit originating from Africa that has come to be consumed worldwide for its slightly sweet and pleasant taste. It is rich in water, a source of carbohydrates has important vitamins for the body such as C and A, as well as mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Its reddish color indicates the presence of lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant that fights the body’s free radicals. Because of this, it helps prevent diseases such as heart and even cancer. In addition to taste and help in body hydration, watermelon contains few calories —in 100 g there is only 30 kcal. See below the benefits of fruit and ways of consumption:
Watermelon helps to keep the body hydrated
Watermelon is a food that helps to keep the body hydrated, as it consists of about 90% water. Hydration is important to regulate body temperature, prevent infections, provide nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning. In addition, it improves the quality of sleep and mood.
Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
The fruit contains magnesium and potassium, which are minerals that lower blood pressure. Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid that increases nitric oxide levels in the body and helps expand blood vessels. The presence of lycopene contributes to controlling the “bad” cholesterol of the body. These conditions are associated with risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore, regular consumption of food, along with a balanced diet and physical activity, decreases the chances of heart problems such as heart attacks.
Watermelon may improve immunity
Watermelon is rich in vitamins and minerals, it reduces the nutritional deficiencies of the body and, consequently, increases immunity. Another highlight is vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system in the fight against infections and viruses. In addition, lycopene helps to decrease oxidative stress, also contributing to an improvement in immunity.
It can help the eyes
Watermelon can help protect the eyes, avoiding diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. This is because the food contains antioxidant substances such as beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A), lutein, and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A, for example, prevents night blindness
The organism easily digests watermelon, because, in addition to being made up of water, the fibers present in its pulp help to improve the functioning of the intestine. Fiber and water help maintain fluidity in the digestive tract. Therefore, regular consumption can prevent constipation.
Contributes to brain functioning
Antioxidant properties fight the action of free radicals, molecules that damage the structure of DNA, and accelerate the aging of the organism. A diet rich in antioxidants improves memory, learning, and other cognitive processes. The presence of phosphorus, along with B vitamins, has important activities related to neurocerebral protection.
Watermelon has diuretic properties
With its high amount of water, watermelon increases urine output, so it has a diuretic effect. This is beneficial primarily for people suffering from water retention and swelling. Some people with kidney problems can also benefit from this property of the fruit, as it prevents the formation of stones.
- Decreases inflammation: due to lycopene and vitamin C, watermelon decreases body inflammation. Research conducted with guinea pigs, scientists proved that those who were fed watermelon had less inflammation and less oxidative stress.
- Can prevent cancer: there are several studies that relate lycopene to the Prevention of some types of cancer, especially of the prostate and the digestive system.
- Watermelon also has a compound called cucurbitacin which contributes to a decrease in the risk of tumors. But, human tests have not yet been performed to prove whether the consumption of the fruit can prevent cancer.
How to eat watermelon
The best form of consumption is the fruit in natura, because this way it is possible to maintain all the nutrients and fibers of the food. But, watermelon juice is also indicated, however, it should be prepared without sugar, preferably. It can also be an ingredient of fruit salads, puddings, smoothies, cakes, jams, sweets, and ice cream. Although less common, watermelon can turn pasta sauce into bittersweet recipes or be served on skewers on barbecues.
Risks and contraindications
The fruit is considered a safe food. It is known to have a high glycemic index (GI), but its glycemic load (GL) is small. That is, despite the fact that it has a carbohydrate that is quickly absorbed, it is present in a small amount in the food. Because of this, people with diabetes should consume more moderately and talk about these amounts with a registered dietitian.
How to choose and store
Watermelon can be found whole or in pieces at markets. Pay attention to the peel, which should not have dark spots and need to be green with yellowish spots. It can not be too soft and the more rounded ones are usually sweeter. Now if you choose to buy the cut watermelon, be careful about the time of exposure of the fruit —it needs to be chilled and tightly packed. And see if the pulp has a uniform, sharp color. The whole fruit does not need to stand in the refrigerator, only after it is cut. It is important to cover the surface of the watermelon to avoid contamination or cut it into smaller pieces and store it in suitable containers.Share this