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What Makes Watermelon So Healthy?

Picture of Nadia Elysse
US Editorial Team Lead
Updated: 30 November 2016
National Watermelon Day is August 3, a day to celebrate summer’s favorite fruit. Watermelon is often touted as simply cool and refreshing, but its benefits extend far beyond the pop of color it may add to your seasonal salad or smoothie.

The fruit has been found to relieve muscle soreness, lower blood pressure, and help reduce inflammation. Dietary regimes that include watermelon — for instance, the Mediterranean Diet — rank high among some of the most nutritionally beneficial cuisines in the world. But what is it about watermelon that makes it so healthy?

Watermelon is considered especially nutritious thanks to its vitamin- and nutrient-packed and low-calorie properties. The fruit boasts rich potassium as well as vitamins A, B6, and C, and contains lycopene, which aids in a number of our bodies’ natural processes.

watermelon day 2016
A juicy slice of watermelon. | © Pixabay

According to Medical News Today, vitamin A is great for healthy skin and hair as it is essential for the continued growth of body tissues. Vitamin B6 is one of eight B-complex vitamins, all of which are responsible for keeping us energized. When it comes to healthy brain function and even regulating mood, Vitamin B6 is also important, while Vitamin C serves as an antioxidant necessary for the production of collagen, and may help protect against the common cold.

Thanks to its deep pink color, watermelon is also a source of lycopene. According to the Mayo Clinic, lycopene-rich foods have been linked to lowering cancer and heart disease risk. Watermelon also supports good digestive wellbeing; it is fiber-rich and prevents dehydration because it contains over 90% water.

In short, watermelon’s nutrients and vitamins contribute to just about everything that is essential for proper body function… and might even help fight disease. But the fruit isn’t without controversy.

By now, most of us know that monitoring caloric intake is important for maintaining a balanced diet. Some foods are low-calorie. And a unique group of foods have what some nutritional enthusiasts refer to as ‘negative calories‘. Watermelon, celery, grapefruit, and apples may all be considered negative calorie foods.

Of course, negative calorie foods are more of a concept than a reality. The foods we consume either have calories or don’t have calories. But there are fruits, vegetables, and even extremely cold drinks that have so few calories that they are almost guaranteed to get burned in the form of energy. Opponents of categorizing watermelon as ‘negative calorie’, however, fail to deny the fruit’s obvious benefits. They simply don’t want to lull the consuming public into thinking eating watermelon will somehow offset a huge caloric intake.

too much watermelon
Too many watermelons? | © Pixabay

Similarly, while watermelon is a nutritious food, there is something to be said for too much of a good thing. People who consume watermelon in excess put themselves at risk of dangerously low-blood pressure, digestive issues including diarrhea, and, in men, even unwanted erections.

So, enjoy a good cup of sweet watermelon today (and for the rest of the week, if you want) and your body will thank you for it… but be careful not to have too much.