Benefits of Watermelon: 6 Facts You Didn’t Know
Watermelon is a berry, but this is inaccurate. The fact is that it cannot be attributed to well-known plants: it does not grow on a tree, like fruits, and not on bushes, like berries. Since watermelons belong to the cucurbit family, their fruits are called gourds. From a botanical point of view, it is most similar to a berry due to the presence of seeds, sweet pulp and peel.
The gourd culture looks impressive, the classic varieties are difficult to confuse with any other fruit. Watermelon is easily recognizable by its large size and green bark with light stripes. It grows and matures on the ground. A field sown with watermelons is called melon. For the fruit, the presence of a tail is mandatory, with which it is attached to its branch. And a good watermelon will definitely have a “cheek” – a light spot on the peel, which forms in the place where the watermelon was adjacent to the ground. This area was hidden from the sun, which is necessary for better fruit ripening. Depending on the size of the watermelon itself, the “cheek” may also differ in size.
To ripen, watermelon needs a lot of sun, so it is most often grown in countries with a warm climate: China, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Uzbekistan and, of course, in the south of Russia. Large Astrakhan watermelons are famous for their sugar core.
Watermelon, of course, can be eaten raw, peeled and pitted. But people have come up with a lot of recipes for how to use this sweet fruit, from honey to pickles.
The benefits of watermelons
Watermelon is useful primarily for a large amount of water in the composition and an abundance of sugars. Due to this, it quenches thirst and light hunger well. Watermelon is a good companion for a snack between main meals. In addition, it contains many useful trace elements, such as vitamins C, A, B1, B5, B6.
“Watermelon is rich in vitamins and microelements, contains a large amount of carbohydrates and water. The content of proteins, fats and dietary fiber in watermelon is relatively low. Calorie content is about 30 kcal per 100 g of product.
Watermelon contains sucrose, fructose and glucose. By themselves, being natural sugars, they are not harmful in reasonable quantities, but when consumed in excess, they contribute to an increase in caloric content of the diet and weight gain. It is undesirable for patients with impaired carbohydrate metabolism to consume them due to a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. It is not a low-calorie product, given its high carbohydrate content, and cannot be recommended as the basis of a diet for weight loss.
WHO recommends for daily consumption at least five servings for vegetables and fruits per day, of which it is optimal that no more than two servings fall on fruits (including watermelon),” says Daria Mikhailova, endocrinologist GMS Clinic.
Useful properties of watermelon:
- Helps maintain water balance.
- Most of the watermelon is water. Indeed, it is 92% liquid. Even if you can’t bring yourself to drink 2 liters of water a day, sweet watermelon will easily help you with this. Hydration of the body is extremely important, the proper functioning of organs, the delivery of vitamins and trace elements to cells, the regulation of body temperature, and many other processes depend on it.
- Supposed to have anti-cancer properties.
- Scientists believe that lycopene, which is found in watermelon, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as prostate and colorectal cancer. Lycopene is the antioxidant responsible for the red color of watermelon flesh. It can also be found in tomatoes, grapefruit, and rose hips.
- But that’s not all. Watermelon, like other melons, also contains cucurbitacin E. This is a substance that, ironically, has a bitter taste, but at the same time can suppress the growth of tumors. Strengthens the heart and blood vessels. Some of the nutrients found in watermelon support heart health. Lycopene lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. And the amino acid citrulline increases the level of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels.
- Fights inflammation. Scientists conducted a study in which they fed rats unhealthy food. At the same time, one group was given watermelon powder as an additive, while the other was not. As a result, in rats from the first group, the markers responsible for inflammatory processes in the body were lower. The combination of vitamin C and lycopene in watermelon seems to help fight inflammation.
- Protects eyes. Age-related macular degeneration of the eye complicates life, as it is accompanied by vision problems and can lead to blindness over time. Some studies have shown that the lycopene found in watermelon helps fight the processes that cause AMD.
- Reduces soreness in the muscles after sports. Everyone is familiar with sore muscles the next day after an intense workout. A study on athletes has shown that the substance citrulline found in watermelon can help relieve muscle soreness and calm the heart rate for 24 hours. In that case, the experimental subjects took 0.5 liters of watermelon juice.