Nutritional Value of Watermelon
As the name rightly suggests, watermelons are rich in water. This fruit has a very low calorie content. It contains considerable amounts of vitamin A and C. This fruit is rich in carotenoids and is free of fats and cholesterol. It is believed that watermelons kept at room temperature are more nutritious than those kept in the refrigerator.
Here is a brief overview about vitamin containts of a watermelon (per 100 grams of raw fruit).
- Vitamin C - 8.1 mg
- Vitamin A - 569 IU
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - 0.045 mg
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin) - 0.033 mg
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - 0.021mg
- Folate - 3 mcg
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) - 0.221 mg
100 grams of this fruit amounts to 30 calories and contains 91.5 grams of water, 0.15 gram fat, 7.55 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 gram dietary fiber, 6.2 grams sugar and 0.61 gram protein. Seeds of watermelon also contain certain nutrients in trace amounts. 50% of watermelon seeds consists of oil and the other half includes 35% protein and 5% dietary fiber.
Health Aspects of Watermelon
The most important health benefit of watermelon is that it contains carotenoids which have antioxidant properties. Lycopene, which gives red color to the flesh forms a major chunk of the carotenoids in this fruit. 100 grams of the fruit contains 4.5 mg of lycopene which is helpful in reducing the risk of many types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Watermelons contain an amino acid called citrulline which is used by the human body to produce another amino acid called arginine. Arginine helps remove ammonia from the body and produces nitric oxide which is helpful in lowering high blood pressure and in preventing erectile dysfunction.
Watermelons are associated with various health benefits, some of which are:
- Watermelons contain vitamin B which is helpful in producing instant energy in the body.
- Beta carotene contained in watermelons, helps to boost the immune system and also in fighting age-related blindness.
- Watermelons are rich in water and so are helpful in preventing dehydration.
- The low-calorie content of this fruit, makes it a best choice for diet-conscious people.
- Potassium helps in lowering high blood pressure and prevents kidney stone. This mineral is also said to be good for preventing stroke and heart problems.
- It helps in reducing symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Being rich in antioxidants, watermelon is said to be good for fighting the action of free radicals in the body. This reduces the risk of various types of cancer and heart diseases.
- Watermelon has diuretic and cleansing properties that make it beneficial for those with certain kidney and bladder diseases.
- This fruit is also used for skin care, as topical application of its juice is found to reduce skin blemishes. Watermelons are also used in various cosmetics like, lipsticks and shower gels.
- It is also used as a remedy for constipation and is believed to be helpful for cleansing the toxic wastes in the body.
Unlike other fruits, the ratio of nutrients per calorie is higher in watermelon. However, excess intake of watermelon may cause certain health problems in some people. Regular intake of this fruit in large amounts may cause hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in blood) in some cases. This is mostly seen in those with kidney diseases.
Watermelon and Diabetics
Those with diabetes have to be cautious about the food they consume as their blood glucose levels may raise with intake of certain foods. So, diabetics are advised to stay off of foods which have high glycemic (or glycaemic) index. Intake of foods with higher glycemic index can raise the blood glucose levels very fast, watermelon being one of them.
However, recent studies suggest, this fruit is beneficial for diabetics, if taken in MODERATION. This is because of the low glycemic load of this fruit. Glycemic load takes into consideration the carbohydrate content in a standard serving of food, along with the glycemic index (for calculating the effect of a particular food on the blood sugar levels).
Glycemic load is a newer concept that takes into consideration the carbohydrate level of the food, the serving size along with the glycemic index (for calculating the effect of that particular food on the blood glucose levels). As per this new concept, watermelon has low glycemic load as it has a high water content and low carbohydrate level.
Hence, it is now said that watermelons can be consumed by diabetics but in small amounts because of its low carbohydrate level. It affects the blood glucose level when taken in lagre portions. However, it is advised to monitor the blood glucose level after consumption of watermelon. Above all, consult your doctor before introducing this fruit in your diet.