Eating In-Season: 3 Ways Watermelon Benefits Your Health

Food as Medicine

watermelonWatermelon is without a doubt one of the most popular stars of summer. It’s cool, sweet, and refreshing. And when it covers your face, hands, and arms with sticky sweetness, it’s easily washed off in the pool, lake, or with the hose. It’s perfect for summer in other ways too, with numerous health benefits that are often overlooked. Below are a few health benefits of watermelon.

1. Watermelon Can Lower Blood Pressure

Several studies have indicated watermelon extract can have positive effects on blood pressure and arterial health. One, from Florida State University, indicated four grams of watermelon extract each day could reduce systolic blood pressure without changing heart rate in adults with hypertension and prehypertension.

Another, published in the journal Nutrition, found that consuming watermelon juice can increase plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Something called L-citrulline in watermelon is converted to arginine in the body. Arginine has numerous health benefits, including those related to cardiovascular health.

2. Watermelon May Help You Lose Weight

A 2007 study found the L-citrulline in watermelon can help improve metabolic syndrome in overweight and diabetic rats. This means it can help control the risk factors of cardiovascular disease including blood sugar levels and weight. Another rodent study indicates mice receiving watermelon juice gained 30% less weight than a control group while on the otherwise-identical diet.

Further, animals with diet-induced high cholesterol who were given watermelon juice were able to lose more abdominal fat than those receiving water instead.

3. Watermelon’s Antioxidant Benefits

Watermelon is rich in antioxidants like lycopene, lutein, and beta carotene. These compounds offer numerous health benefits including lowered risk of cancer, reduced inflammation, and improved brain health.

You can get the most of watermelon’s benefits by eating some throughout the week while it is in season. Buy it local and put it in salads, with breakfast or in smoothies and juices. If you slice it and keep it in the fridge, don’t waste the juice that sinks to the bottom—use it in water or homemade juices.