Watermelon is just one of those fruits that everybody seems to enjoy, especially in the summertime. It’s sweet, even as sweet as candy when you pick the right one, it’s juicy, it’s refreshing, and above all, it’s packed with a lot of nutrients.
Watermelon is also one of those fruits that animals and birds enjoy: goats, chickens, parrots, horses, deer, crows and even dogs eat it.
A Short Historical Introduction
According to popular belief, watermelon originates in Africa, more explicitly Southern Africa. It is believed to have appeared some 5,000 years ago, having become quite the popular food in ancient Egypt around 2000 BC.
It was sometime in the 10th century that the watermelon was introduced into Europe, and from there the colonists brought it to the American continent. The fruit followed a gradual development here, at first being cultivated in Florida, then in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and other locations.
Watermelons were for a long time eaten as a dessert, and although they are 91% water and 6% sugar, they also present a number of health benefits due to a number of nutrients they contain, which makes them one of the healthiest food choices. (Watermelon Prices and Offers in Supermarkets)
Watermelons – Nutritional Information
One cup of watermelon, which is about 152.00 grams contains:
- Vitamin C: 16% of the daily recommended value.
- Pantothenic Acid: 7% of the daily recommended value.
- Copper: 7% of the daily recommended value.
- Vitamin A: 5% of the daily recommended value.
- Potassium: 5% of the daily recommended value.
- Biotin: 5% of the daily recommended value.
- Magnesium: 4% of the daily recommended value.
- Vitamin B6: 4% of the daily recommended value.
- Vitamin B1: 4% of the daily recommended value.
Watermelons – Health Benefits
There are some health benefits that have been associated with regular consumption of watermelon. From providing antioxidant support to preventing accumulation of body fat, the watermelons seems to promote positive health conditions in more than one respect.
In relation to asthma: studies have shown that people who consume high amounts of vitamin C are less likely to develop asthma. Given that watermelons have such a high concentration of this particular nutrient, they make an excellent asthma prevention choice.
About antioxidant support: the fruit contains lycopene, which is one of the best carotenoids that provide both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support. Lycopene levels in watermelon grow as the fruit ripens, so to get the most of its benefits, it is recommended that the fruit is consumed fully ripen.
Studies have also shown that storing fresh cut watermelon in the refrigerator over a period of up to 7 days does not deteriorate the lycopene content, which represents an additional benefit. It is also worth mentioning that lycopene has been associated with preventing heart diseases, prostate cancer and promoting bone health.
Concerning cardiovascular health: Although studies have yet to determine the extent to which watermelon improves cardiovascular health for humans, it is known that the citrulline – an important amino acid in watermelon which converts into another relevant amino acid – arginine, stabilizes blood flow and promotes cardiovascular health. Three to six cups of fresh watermelon juice are recommended for daily consumption to increase the cardiovascular benefits.
In addition to the above, one of the most relevant benefits of consuming watermelon is hydration. Because the fruit is mainly water and it contains electrolytes, watermelon is great especially during the summer months when staying hydrated is of particular importance. It should not, however, replace fresh water, but be consumed as a hydration supplement to water.
A summer-friendly fruit, watermelons can as well prevent constipation due to the high amount of water content and the fiber.