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Watermelon: Benefits, Harms and Nutrients


Watermelon is a sweet, refreshing, low-calorie summer snack. Provides hydration as well as essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Along with cantaloupe, dew and cucumber, watermelon is a member of the cucurbit family. There are five common types of watermelons: seedless, seedless, small, yellow, and orange.

In this article you will learn more about the potential health benefits and nutritional content of watermelon, and its side effects.

What are the health benefits of watermelon?

Watermelon is a surprisingly healthy fruit. It is high in water and also provides many other important nutrients, including lycopene and vitamin C.

These nutrients mean that watermelon isn't just a tasty, low-calorie treat — it's very beneficial for your health, too.

1. Helps you hydrate

Watermelon is high in water, containing 92% water (s). This makes it hydrating and helps you feel full. The high water content is one of the reasons why fruits and vegetables can help you feel full.

2. Contains nutrients and beneficial plant compounds

Watermelon is among the lowest in calories - just 46 calories per cup (154 grams). This is even lower than low-sugar fruits like berries (s).

3. Contains compounds that may help prevent cancer

Some compounds in watermelon, including cucurbitacin E (s) and lycopene (s), have been studied for their ability to prevent cancer, although study results (s) have been mixed.

4. May Improve Heart Health

Watermelon contains many heart-healthy components, and heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide (s), including, lycopene (s), citrulline (s), and other vitamins and minerals (s).

5. May reduce inflammation and oxidative stress

Lycopene and vitamin C are anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in watermelon (s, s). As an antioxidant, lycopene may also benefit brain health, and may help delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease (s).

6. May help prevent macular degeneration

Lycopene may help maintain eye health and protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (s).

7. May help relieve muscle soreness

Watermelon and watermelon juice may reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time after exercise in athletes.

In a 2017 study, athletes drank either a pint of a placebo or watermelon juice with added L-citrulline, two hours before running a half marathon.

Those who drank the watermelon drink reported less muscle soreness 24-72 hours after the race (s).

Watermelon juice has some potential as a post-workout recovery drink. Citrulline may be partly responsible for its effect in relieving muscle soreness (s).

SeeThe Benefits of Watermelon Juice For Health and Skin

8. May be beneficial for skin and hair

Watermelon contains vitamin C that the body needs to produce collagen (s). Collagen is essential for cell structure and immune function. Vitamin C also promotes wound healing.

Studies show that vitamin C may help promote healthy skin, including reducing the risk of age-related damage (s).

Several nutrients found in watermelon are beneficial for your hair and skin. Some help keep the skin supple, while others protect against sunburn (s).

9. It can improve digestion

Fiber and water are important for healthy digestion. Watermelon contains both.

10- It helps lower blood pressure

In a 2012 study, researchers found that watermelon extract reduced blood pressure in and around the ankles of middle-aged people with obesity and early hypertension (s).

The authors suggested that L-citrulline and L-arginine -- two antioxidants found in watermelon -- may improve arterial function.

Nitric oxide is a gaseous molecule that causes the tiny muscles around blood vessels to relax and stretch. This leads to a drop in blood pressure (s).

Consuming watermelon or its juice might reduce blood pressure and atherosclerosis in people with high blood pressure (s, s).

11- Helps reduce insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is the condition in which your cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. This can lead to high blood sugar levels and is linked to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Intake of watermelon juice and arginine is associated with reduced insulin resistance in some studies (s, s, s).

12- May prevent asthma

Some experts believe that free radicals contribute to asthma (s). The presence of certain antioxidants in the lungs, including vitamin C, may reduce the risk of developing asthma.

Studies have not confirmed that taking vitamin C supplements can help prevent asthma, but a diet rich in vitamin C may offer some protection.

A cup of watermelon balls from a trusted source weighing about 154 grams (g) provides 12.5 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or between 14% and 16% of a person's daily needs (s).

13- May improve digestion and regularity

Watermelon is high in water and also provides some fiber. These nutrients help promote bowel health by preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.

14- It benefits the brain and nervous system

Choline is another antioxidant found in watermelon. The authorized resource contributes to the following tasks and activities (s):

  • Muscle movement
  • Learning and memory
  • Maintaining the structure of cell membranes
  • Transmission of nerve impulses
  • Early brain development

One theory is that choline may help slow the progression of dementia in Alzheimer's disease, but there isn't enough evidence to confirm this.

See7 Benefits of Watermelon Peel

15- Improves metabolism

In 2019, researchers published findingsTrusted Source that watermelon may improve features of metabolic syndrome, including obesity and cardiovascular measurements.

In the study, 33 overweight or obese people ate either two cups of watermelon or a low-fat cracker daily for 4 weeks.

People who ate watermelon reported feeling less hungry and more satiated for a longer time than those who ate crackers.

Additionally, after 4 weeks, those who ate the watermelon ate:

  • High levels of antioxidants in their blood
  • Low body weight and body mass index (BMI)
  • low systolic blood pressure
  • Improved waist to hip ratio

Those who ate the crackers had higher levels of oxidative stress compared to the watermelon group. It also increased blood pressure and body fat.

The results suggest that watermelon may be a good snack option for people with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

16- It has diuretic properties

Some people use diuretic medications to help their bodies get rid of excess water and salt. This can be beneficial for people with kidney problems, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

A 2014 study in rats concluded that watermelon's diuretic effect may be as effective as furosemide, a known diuretic. This can make it a natural choice for people with excess fluids.

Never stop taking a prescription diuretic without talking to your healthcare provider.

Watermelon nutritional facts

Below we show the quantity per 100 grams (s). We also show how much of each nutrient an adult needs, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Requirements vary according to an individual's gender and age:

  • Water: 91 g
  • Energy: 30 calories
  • Protein: 0.61 grams
  • Total Fat: 0.15g
  • Carbs with difference: 7.55 grams
  • Total dietary fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Sugars: 6.2 grams
  • Calcium: 7 mg
  • Iron: 0.24 mg
  • Magnesium: 10 mg
  • Phosphorous: 11 mg
  • Potassium: 112 mg
  • Sodium: 1 mg

Watermelon also contains some:

  • B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin
  • Zinc, manganese, selenium, fluoride and other essential minerals
  • Tryptophan, leucine, lysine, arginine, and other antioxidants

SeeThe Most Important Benefits of Watermelon Seeds

The negative effects of watermelon and its risks

Moderate amounts of watermelon do not present any serious health risks for most people, but some may need attention.

Most people tolerate watermelon well. However, it may cause allergic reactions or digestive problems in some individuals.

1- For allergy sufferers

Watermelon allergy is rare and usually associated with allergic mouth syndrome in individuals who are allergic to pollen (s, s).

Symptoms include itchy mouth and throat, as well as swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and/or ears (s).

2- For those who suffer from FODMAPs

Watermelon contains relatively high amounts of fructose, a type of FODMAPs that some people don't fully digest.

FODMAPs like fructose can cause unpleasant digestive symptoms, such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea and constipation.

Individuals who are allergic to FODMAPs, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), should consider avoiding watermelon.

3- For those suffering from diabetes

Watermelon is a fruit with natural sugar content. Diabetics should count these carbohydrates in their daily meal plan.

It is best to eat watermelon whole rather than juice, as juicing removes the fiber, making it easier for the body to absorb sugar.

This may increase the risk of high glucose. Remember to keep an eye on portion sizes as with all fruits and juices.

4- For those who suffer from hyperkalemia

People with severe hyperkalemia, or too much potassium in their blood, should consume no more than one cup of watermelon per day, which contains less than 140 mg of potassium.

According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia can lead to arrhythmias and other cardiovascular problems, as well as decreased muscle control (s).

SeeFresh Ginger vs. Ground Ginger

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