Wondrous Watermelon: Why This Summertime Favorite Is a Health Boon

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Red, juicy watermelon is a summertime favorite—and a nutritional powerhouse! For starters, watermelon is high in lycopene. This carotenoid helps protect against heart disease, UV-induced skin and eye damage, and prostate and other types of cancer. Watermelon is also a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C.

Here are a couple of other reasons to enjoy watermelon before summer’s end:

  • It is exceptionally high in the amino acid citrulline. Our bodies use citrulline to make arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide, which helps regulate blood pressure, supports healthy circulation, and even boosts male sexual function.
  • Although watermelon contains sugar, it has a low glycemic load. That means it doesn’t cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. In fact, some preliminary animal studies suggest that watermelon juice may have a positive effect on blood sugar metabolism.

Look for a firm, symmetrical, and relatively heavy watermelon with few bruises. And roll it over—the underside should have a yellowish spot from where it rested on the ground as it ripened in the sun. And don’t refrigerate it—room temperature melons have significantly more lycopene than chilled melons.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the rind is also rich in citrulline. Since the rind doesn’t have much flavor, most people prefer to pickle it or use it in other recipes. However, if the thought of eating it still seems strange to you, juicing it along with the fruit is another great option.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have any other watermelon tips you’d like to share?

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