Watermelon: More than Just Water

Watermelon: More than Just Water

No summer is complete without taking a big bite out of a juicy and refreshing slice of watermelon. When we think of watermelons, we’re instantly reminded of family barbeques, summer camps, and hot summer beach days. The great news is that it’s not only a summertime staple, but it’s also a healthy addition to our diets.

Despite being roughly 92 percent water, watermelon contains many nutrients. One bite of that pink, juicy fruit provides your body with a long list of nutrients that includes vitamins A, B, and C, potassium and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives watermelons their vibrant pink-red color and protects us against cardiovascular disease, stroke, elevated blood pressure, and potentially some cancers. Another fruit that’s also an excellent source of lycopene is the tomato. However, unlike watermelons, tomatoes need to be heated for the lycopene to be readily available and absorbable. Thankfully, we can reap the benefits of lycopene from watermelons straightaway.

To offset watermelon’s lack of fiber, it’s low in calories and sugar. One cup of diced watermelon is just 50 calories and contains roughly 10 grams of sugar – compared to a cup of bananas or blueberries, which contains at least 15 grams of sugar. Watermelons may have a low sugar content and a high water content to slow that sugar absorption down, but they also have a high glycemic index. People who are monitoring their blood sugars can still enjoy it in moderation alongside a balanced diet.

While watermelon may have a greater effect on blood sugar levels than other fruits do, you can still have it in moderation, especially during the summertime when it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Watermelons are some of the most hydrating foods you can eat. Many athletes use watermelon to stay hydrated before a competition. The combination of potassium and water, along with minimal fiber, makes it nature’s sports drink.

With such as high water content, no one would imagine that watermelons also contain many essential nutrients. Historically, it was thought to be full of sugary water. We now know that it provides many health benefits, from detoxing to neutralizing harmful free radicals. Watermelon continues to be a classic summer favorite and a healthy, festive addition to any meals, barbeques, parties, and other get-togethers.

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Triathlon Coach


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