Summer is finally here. Time for car trips with the family, BBQ with friends, and eating lots of fresh produce from the local farmer’s market. This summer, be sure to stock up on watermelon, which is the perfect summer food. Not only is this melon incredibly delicious, it’s also rich in nutrients yet low in calories. Oh, and all of that water is super hydrating!
But watermelon has even more benefits than the ones I just listed. From supporting your immune system to giving your brain a boost and helping your heart be healthy, watermelon should definitely be a part of your daily diet all summer long.
Here are 11 reasons why you should be eating more of it:
Your Heart Will Thank You
You’ve probably heard about the amazing antioxidant called lycopene. It has actually been called the most powerful antioxidant found in food and is what gives many fruits and veggies their red color. Well, watermelon is loaded with lycopene, which means the fruit can protect your heart from free radical damage. Watermelon also contains high levels of potassium, which has the ability to improve blood flow, reduce cholesterol, and regulate your heartbeat.
Strong and Healthy Bones
Dietary lycopene has also been found to promote strong and healthy bones. This super antioxidant represses the activity of cells responsible for the development of osteoporosis. And, once again working in tandem, the potassium in watermelon helps your bones retain precious calcium, which keeps them nice and strong.
Supports Your Immune System
Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system and protects your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress. Also, because the enzyme involved in collagen production needs vitamin C, eating more watermelon can actually help your body heal wounds faster.
Besides the wonder antioxidant lycopene, which is a carotenoid, watermelons are also rich in flavonoids and triterpenoids. These are all highly effective in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. Inflammation is what is behind the severe pain of arthritis, so if your joints have been bothering you lately, be sure to up your intake of watermelon this summer, and be sure they’re ripe, as ripe watermelons have higher concentrations of anti-inflammatory compounds.
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Clearly lycopene should have its own reality show, because once again it is a star – this time at reducing the risk of certain cancers such as prostate, lung, breast, colon and uterine.
Weight Loss Aid
Since watermelon is almost 90% water and contains very few calories, it’s a fantastic snack option for people who want or need to lose weight. But water content and low calorie count are not the only things that make this delicious fruit a powerful ally in the battle against the bulge; the citrulline found in watermelons is converted into arginine, an amino acid that has a fat-burning effect.
Alkalizes the Body
Most people eat a modern diet laden with acid-producing foods such as fast and processed foods, baked goods, meat and dairy. These high acidic diets have been linked to everything from weight gain to an increased risk of developing diabetes and diseases like cancer. Watermelons are an alkaline food and can help your body neutralize these damaging acids.
Improves Your Vision
Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants like vitamin C, lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin, this fleshy fruit is fantastic for eye health. By eating more watermelon, you can protect your eyes against age-related issues such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and night blindness.
Healthy Skin and Hair
I already mentioned watermelon contains beta-carotene, but did you know beta-carotene gets converted into vitamin A in the body? Vitamin A pays a crucial role in the production of sebum and cell growth to keep your skin and hair healthy and hydrated.
A Natural Sexual Enhancer
Yes, you read that correctly. A study conducted by Texas A&M University found that the citrulline in watermelons helps to relax blood vessels in a very similar way that occurs when men take the little blue pill. If you want to boost your libido and improve circulation naturally, eat more watermelon.
Improves Your Mood and Cognitive Function
Watermelons are an excellent source of B6, a vitamin required for the production of several important chemicals in the brain (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and gamma-amino butyric acid, or GABA) responsible for mood and behavior. A B6 deficiency can result in mood swings, depression, and some studies point to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. To keep your brain sharp and your mood mellow, opt for watermelon as the perfect summertime snack.
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Bonus Tip: DON’T SPIT OUT THOSE SEEDS!
While it may have been fun as a kid (and, okay, maybe as an adult as well) to have a watermelon seed spitting contest, those seed are actually an awesome source of protein and contain their own beneficial phytonutrients for optimum health. Plus, you may think buying and eating those seedless watermelons are much more convenient, but they didn’t become seedless all by themselves; human beings made them that way and they can only reproduce with our intervention. Another good reason to choose the good ol’ regular seeded melons instead.
If you want to make this summer your healthiest, and delicious-est, on yet, eat more watermelon!