Surprise, Watermelon Is So Much Healthier Than You Thought
Watermelon is sweet, refreshing, and tastes delicious in everything from cocktails to sushi, which is why it’s such a summer staple. You might be surprised to learn that watermelon also has a multitude of health benefits, giving us even more reason to enjoy the juicy fruit.
Watermelon Is Packed With Fiber, Antioxidants, and More
There are many surprising health benefits of watermelon. “Watermelons are an awesome choice when it comes to summer fruits because the fiber promotes satiety and digestive regularity, while the electrolytes are very hydrating,” says Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN. Watermelons are also high in lycopene–usually associated with tomatoes—a phytochemical known for its antioxidant properties. “There have been several studies linking consumption of lycopene with a decreased risk in prostate cancer,” Feller says. “They’re also high in choline, which has many uses in the body, including aiding with cell structure, cellular messaging, removing fat and cholesterol from the blood, and it’s a part of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in memory, muscle movement, and regulating heartbeat.”
Watermelon Counts Towards Your Daily Water Requirements
If you have trouble hitting your daily water requirement, you’ll delight in knowing that there’s such a thing as eating your water. “Among the health benefits of watermelon is that it consists of over 90 percent water, therefore it definitely goes towards your daily water needs and decreases the amount you actually need to drink,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN. On the flip side, because the summer fruit is so high in water, it’s not the best smoothie option, but there is a trick to harnessing its great flavor for beverages. Gans suggests freezing watermelon and using it in your drinks instead of ice.
Even the Rind and Seeds Are Good for You
There are good reasons to eat the whole watermelon–including the rind and seeds. “Seeds have folate, magnesium, and iron, while the rind has vitamins C and B6. Together these vitamins and minerals help boost skin health, heart health, and immunity,” Gans says.
They both make for easy-to-prepare, low-calorie snacks. “Seeds can be roasted with olive oil and salt for a snack, while the rind can be pickled just like a cucumber or sautéed in a stir-fry dish alongside other veggies,” Gans says. You can even juice the rind! One ounce of watermelon seeds (400 seeds) contains approximately 160 calories–or the equivalent of about 15 potato chips. As for watermelon rind, a one-inch cube has 1.8 calories.
But Don't Eat Too Much Watermelon
Two cups of watermelon are considered to be a serving . It’s important to note that while there are many health benefits of watermelon, it’s also high in sugar and net carbs, so it’s best to eat in moderation (as with most foods). To give an idea of how watermelon stacks up to other summer fruits, Feller offers the below:
- 1 cup of diced watermelon contains 46 calories and 9.4 grams of sugar
- 1 cup of whole strawberries contains 46 calories and 7 grams of sugar
- 1 cup of sliced peaches contains 60 calories and 13 grams of sugar
- 1 cup of pineapple chunks contains 82 calories and 16 grams of sugar
Delicious Ways to Eat Watermelon
Now that you have the lowdown on all the health benefits of watermelon, get to cutting and cooking! Feller suggests a cold watermelon soup topped with a dollop of plain yogurt, while Gans uses watermelon in her salad along with mint, cucumbers, and feta cheese. But arguably the most unique watermelon recipe is this one for watermelon nigiri “sushi.”
Related: 11 Delicious Watermelon Recipes