The Health Benefits of Watermelon

By on April 1, 2008
watermelon

Brief History of Watermelon

Watermelon is believed to have to have originated from the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa, where the great explorer David Livingstone described it as being abundant. Watermelons were first cultivated in Egypt, and hieroglyphics depicting watermelon have been found in tombs. Japanese farmers invented the idea of forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape by inserting them into glass boxes while still growing. The square shape makes it easier to pack and transport watermelon.

Nutrients in Watermelon

Watermelon is a very good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene. Watermelon is a good source of vatamins B1 and B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber.

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Watermelon, raw Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 127 kJ (30 kcal)
* Carbohydrates 7.55 g
Dietary fiber 0.4 g
* Fat 0.15 g
* Protein 0.61 g
* Vitamin A equiv. 28 ?g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.033 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.021 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.178 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.221 mg
* Vitamin B6 0.045 mg
* Folate (Vit. B9) 3 ?g
* Vitamin C 8.1 mg
* Calcium 7 mg
* Iron 0.24 mg
* Magnesium 10 mg
Phosphorus 11 mg
Potassium 112 mg
Zinc 0.10 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Watermelon for Cancer Prevention

Watermelon is a rich natural source of lycopene, a carotenoid of great interest because of its antioxidant capacity and potential health benefits. Dietary consumption of the carotenoid lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Data from studies provides evidence that increased consumption of lycopene-containing foods might reduce the occurrence or progression of prostate cancer.

The results of a study suggest that vegetables and fruits rich in lycopene and other carotenoids may be protective against prostate cancer. To determine whether dietary intake of lycopene and other carotenoids has an etiological association with prostate cancer, a study was conducted of 130 prostate cancer patients. The prostate cancer risk declined with increasing consumption of lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Intake of tomatoes, pumpkin, spinach, watermelon and citrus fruits were also inversely associated with prostate cancer risk.

Watermelon for Boosting the Immune SystemSquare Watermelon

Watermelon is a rich source of citrulline, an amino acid that can be metabolized to arginine, an essential amino acid. A controlled human study investigated if watermelon juice consumption increases fasting concentrations of plasma arginine, ornithine, and citrulline in healthy adult humans. The results of the study demonstrated that plasma concentration of arginine could be increased through intake of citrulline from watermelon.

Arginine plays an important part in the healing of wounds and the removal of ammonia from the body. Excess ammonia in the blood can lead to fatigue, kidney and liver disease.

Arginine is the physiologic precursor in the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), which plays a pivotal role in many biological processes such as platelet aggregation and immune system modulation. A study involving 40 children demonstrated an increase in lymphocytes, which play an important role in the immune system after oral administration of arginine.

Watermelon for Impotence

Arginine seems to improve sexual function in men with impotence. Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. A study of 50 men with impotence reported significant improved sexual function after arginine supplementation.

Watermelon for Heart Health

The arginine that is available from watermelon has been shown to have beneficial effects in patients with heart failure.

Glycemic Index of Watermelon

Watermelon has a high glycemic index of 72 -80.


References:
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Collins JK, Wu G, Perkins-Veazie P, Spears K, Claypool PL, Baker RA, Clevidence BA. Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Nutrition. 2007 Mar;23(3):261-6. PMID: 17352962.
5. Jian L, Du CJ, Lee AH, Binns CW. Do dietary lycopene and other carotenoids protect against prostate cancer? Int J Cancer. 2005 Mar 1;113(6):1010-4. PMID: 15514967.
6. Baligan M, Giardina A, Giovannini G, Laghi MG, Ambrosioni G. [L-arginine and immunity. Study of pediatric subjects]. Minerva Pediatr. 1997 Nov;49(11):537-42. PMID: 9549298.
7. Chen J, Wollman Y, Chernichovsky T, Iaina A, Sofer M, Matzkin H. Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. BJU Int. 1999 Feb;83(3):269-73. PMID: 10233492.
8. Rector TS, Bank AJ, Mullen KA, Tschumperlin LK, Sih R, Pillai K, Kubo SH. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of supplemental oral L-arginine in patients with heart failure. Circulation. 1996 Jun 15;93(12):2135-41. PMID: 8925582.
9. Edwards AJ, Vinyard BT, Wiley ER, Brown ED, Collins JK, Perkins-Veazie P, Baker RA, Clevidence BA. Consumption of watermelon juice increases plasma concentrations of lycopene and beta-carotene in humans. J Nutr. 2003 Apr;133(4):1043-50. PMID: 12672916.
10. Gann PH, Ma J, Giovannucci E, Willett W, Sacks FM, Hennekens CH, Stampfer MJ. Lower prostate cancer risk in men with elevated plasma lycopene levels: results of a prospective analysis. Cancer Res. 1999 Mar 15;59(6):1225-30. PMID: 10096552.
11. Image by giniger
12. Image of square watermelon by laughlin
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17 Comments

  1. Tony Igwe

    April 11, 2011 at 7:46 am

    i have been taking watermelon for sometime now because i saw it as one of the foods / fruits that boosts the production of semen (sperm) is it correct.

  2. Prince

    April 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Good stuff!

  3. maureen nyaga

    May 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    now i know the benefits of melons

  4. glory onibudo

    June 15, 2011 at 2:15 am

    really enjoyed reading this article and learning about the importance of watermelon. its good when you know the health benefit of wat you are consuming.

  5. Wangui Mwangi

    June 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Someone once told me that watermelon acts as a detoxifier. That if you eat it with other fruits/food, the nutrients will be cleaned off the system. How true is this?

    • Emmanuel arisha

      August 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Is true that water melon increase sexual performance, how & what to do?

  6. Patrick C.

    July 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

    mann, I really really enjoy your write-up. Keep it up.

  7. Adepoju olanrewaju

    July 7, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Am now understand the meaning and funtion of this powerful friut to the word after the readind of this articule. Even without visitin doctor,I belived that friut can make u hearthy. I love this too much. My question is that, if u eat watermelon too much can’t it affact u

    • Nemi fiberesima

      September 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

      What are the effects of watermelon

      • collins

        June 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

        Can the intake of watermelon cure chronic hepatitis b.if yes how do I measure the intake

  8. Alal Solo

    July 11, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Can the intake of water melon boost one’s sperm and sexual mood

  9. Jay

    July 13, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Hey, Good write-up.

  10. Ababio frederick

    July 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Good job, and i have one question, what food contain much more arginine?

  11. eini

    September 9, 2011 at 7:45 am

    now i now more than i think i know, watermelon is a great fruit pls, take @least a slice per day

  12. savitri

    September 22, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Please give me the list of fruits which can help to strengthen the immunity of those children (between 9-19) who are affected by HIV. I hope you will suggest me as soon as possible.
    Please send your suggestion to my mail id.

    Thanking you

    Savitri

  13. Pingback: sexy watermelon | eatingrightinafrica

  14. IDDRISSU

    April 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

    what are the effect of watermelon?

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