The Health Benefits 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.
|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|
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.
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.
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.
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