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Watermelon: More Than Just a Summer Treat

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Red watermelon sliced into triangular pieces

There’s much more to like about watermelon than its sweet and juicy deliciousness. Watermelon is loaded with vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Antioxidant Benefits

Antioxidants are substances that can help prevent cell damage from free radicals, which are naturally occurring molecules linked to diseases including cancer and heart disease.

Watermelon provides a rich source of the antioxidant lycopene, which gives watermelon its red color. Watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable.

  • Lycopene may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of stroke.
  • Lycopene has been shown to reduce risk of age-related eye disorders.
  • It may help reduce risk of certain cancers.
  • It also can help lower blood pressure, according to research.

Other antioxidants in watermelon include cucurbitacin E and vitamins C and A.

Health Benefits

Vitamins in watermelon not only provide antioxidants, they help improve health in many other ways.

  • Vitamin A is good for eye, skin and bone health, It also supports a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin B-1 helps convert food to energy.
  • Vitamin B-6 helps make red blood cells. It’s also good for the immune system and has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Vitamin C helps with tissue growth and repair and helps maintain healthy bones, joints, skin and gums. It also helps with immune function.
  • Potassium helps with blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.
  • Magnesium is vital to cell function and may promote heart, bone and sleep health. Watermelon seeds also are rich in magnesium.

Low in Calories & Good for Hydration

With watermelon, you get a lot for a little (in terms of calories).

Watermelon is filling, yet one cup contains only 46 calories. Consumed as part of a healthy diet, it can help with weight management.

It’s more than 90 percent water, so it also helps keep you hydrated.

Good for Digestion

The water, fiber and nutrients in watermelon promote a healthy digestive system.

Eating fruits and vegetables that contain water and fiber helps promote regular bowel movements.

Related Links

The Clinical Nutrition Department at University Hospitals provides comprehensive nutrition services to improve the health and quality of life for patients. Learn more.

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