- Discover why watermelon beats tomatoes when it comes to this heart-protecting antioxidant
- Trade aspirin for watermelon? Learn how watermelon can relieve your pain
- Go too hard in the gym? No problem. Find out how this fruit’s special amino acid will help rejuvenate your muscles.
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
“It’s summer. You should have watermelon with every meal — it’ll keep you healthy.”
My grandma would tell me this every summer. And it was something she lived by. In fact, there wasn’t a single summer day she didn’t eat at least three servings of watermelon.
And guess what? She was always the healthiest person I knew!
As it turns out, her watermelon habits may have helped her stay healthy and active for over 90 years.
You might be thinking, No way! Watermelon is nothing but sugar and water — it can’t possibly have any health benefits…
Well, if you’re thinking this…
Research shows that watermelon offers a whole host of health-promoting properties, some of which we will share with you today.
Protection Against Heart Disease and Cancer
Watermelon is extremely rich in the antioxidant lycopene. In fact, one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times the amount of lycopene found in a large, fresh tomato. Multiple studies have shown lycopene to be heart-protective.
A study in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extract can improve artery functions. Plus, it can reduce blood pressure in middle-aged, obese adults who are already suffering from Stage 1 hypertension. Scientists think these results may be linked to watermelon’s high lycopene content.
Other studies show that lycopene can also protect you from stroke. In one study, men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were 55 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who had the lowest levels. These amazing results held true even after researchers controlled for age, diabetes and other stroke factors.
In addition, many studies in both animals and humans have found that lycopene may protect against cancer, including prostate and ovarian cancer. Not to mention watermelon’s high level of another powerful antioxidant, vitamin C, may also add a layer of protection between you and cancer.
Watermelon contains a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called cucurbitacin E., a type of triterpenoid. This inflammation-buster can reduce the activity of an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. In fact, cucurbitacin works the same way as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Watermelon also contains a versatile and vital nutrient called choline. Choline helps body reduced inflammation and aids in many important functions like sleep, learning and memory, as well as muscle movement.
Relives Muscle Soreness
If you’re getting your summer workout on, you’re going to want to pick up a watermelon! Watermelon contains l-citrulline, which is an amino acid that can shield against muscle pain. Eating the whole fruit or drinking watermelon juice after working out may lead to improved recovery time and reduced muscle soreness.
One note of caution here: Whole-fruit watermelon is lower in sugar than watermelon juice. If you are cautious of sugar (as you should be), eating the fruit is a better option.
However you slice it (or juice it), watermelon makes a great healthy snack or addition to any meal! You can get your hands on a watermelon at most grocers, as well as farmers markets and roadside produce stands. Get one today! And remember, choose organic when you can.
(And sprinkle with some unrefined sea salt- its good!)
Managing editor, Living Well Daily