It's watermelon season, baby.
This fruit boasts a perfect summer color palette, and features in the most classic line in a dance movie, but is watermelon good for you? Thankfully, yes. “Watermelons are naturally fat-free, low in sodium, and contain a variety of vitamins that are nourishing to the body. With this constitution watermelon provides much-needed nutrients and is great for you to consume,” says Kim Rose, RDN, a registered dietician nutritionist and certified diabetes educator.
Another benefit: Watermelons are also a great choice if you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint and harnessing natural nutrients by eating only in-season produce. “Believe it or not, watermelon is one of those fruits that’s available year-round,” says Rose. You can also minimize waste by consuming the entire watermelon. That’s right, the whole damn thing. "You can eat the fiber-rich rind, hydrating sweet pink flesh, and protein-packed watermelon seeds,” says Rose.
We asked nutritionists, “Is watermelon good for you?" and got them to break down all the benefits.
A 1 cup serving of watermelon contains 0.2 grams of fat, 11.5 grams of carbohydrates, 0.6 grams of fiber, 0.9 grams of protein, 9.5 grams of sugar, and 1.5 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA.
The fruit’s extremely low sodium and fat content mean it’s a heart-friendly choice. “Since watermelons are naturally fat-free and low in sodium, they won’t raise your cholesterol levels nor your blood pressure numbers. In other words, watermelon is great for your heart health,” says Rose.
Benefits of watermelon
For a fruit that contains so much water, it certainly packs a nutritious punch. “Watermelon has about 45 calories per cup and is 90 percent water. A cup provides 13 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements and 11 percent of your daily folate needs. These nutrients support immune function, and vitamin C also supports skin health. Watermelon is also an incredible source of the antioxidant lycopene and a compound called l-citrulline,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, a registered dietician and co-author of Sugar Shock. Here are a few other benefits to eating watermelon:1. A true hydrator
Watermelon is an iconic summer fruit thanks to its rich green and bright pink hues, but it’s also a fantastic hot weather companion for these hydration benefits—after all, food provides an estimated 20% of our water intake. “Water is an underrated nutrient and watermelon is full of it. Every cell in your body needs water to function properly. Water is especially important during the hot summer months when dehydration is a real risk,” says Rose.
“Research suggests that when you aren’t sufficiently hydrated, it can result in increased headaches, fatigue, and anxiety,” adds Cassetty.2. Fuels workouts
When you picture the ultimate workout buddy, your mind might wander to waterproof headphones or a no-nonsense personal trainer, but don’t be overlooking fruit. “The l-citrulline in watermelon has been linked to less muscle soreness after exercising. This compound helps increase nitric oxide production, which relaxes the lining of your blood vessels and enables them to widen. This process promotes better blood flow, which helps improve the supply of oxygen to your muscles during a workout,” says Cassetty.3. Weight management
If your goal is to maintain a healthy weight, try to incorporate more watermelon into your fruit haul. “Watermelon is a low-calorie food that can be a part of any meal or snack,” says Rose.4. Glowing skin
If you’re less about all the vials and potions in the skincare game, and more about nourishing your skin from within, you’ll be delighted to know how watermelon can boost your skin. “Among fresh foods, watermelon is one of the richest sources of lycopene. Lycopene is also associated with skin health. Daily consumption of lycopene-rich foods and other carotenoids may protect skin from sun damage. Plus, the vitamin C in watermelon is needed to support collagen production, which helps keep skin looking younger and firmer,” says Cassetty.5. Healthier heart
Skincare aside, the lycopene in the melon is also an excellent for your cardiovascular system. “Lycopene decreases inflammation, has blood pressure lowering capabilities, and improves cholesterol levels,” says Rose.
Is watermelon juice healthy?
Research has found that drinking watermelon juice before a workout can help to ease post-workout muscle soreness, as well as support a faster heart rate recovery. The juice is also packed with electrolytes, which is effective in fending off heatstroke.
As a result of watermelon’s high water content, watermelon juice is unlike many other fruit juices, where it’s best to just consume the fruit whole. “Watermelon contains over ninety percent water; therefore, converting watermelon into watermelon juice would maintain the same nutritional properties, and is just as healthy as the whole fruit,” says Rose.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Serena Coady