Food Spotlight: Watermelon
Watermelon is a fruit that is considered a sweet and refreshing low calorie snack. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family together with cucumber, honeydew and cantaloupe. Watermelon is one of the best summer refreshments.
Why Should You Eat Watermelon?
The biggest component of watermelon is water – it comprises 92%. This is also why 100 g of watermelon contain only 30 calories. Watermelon is very healthy – it contains vitamins A, B1, B5, B6 and C, as well as minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Vitamin C is important for the skin as it helps the body to make collagen, while vitamin A has a role in repairing skin cells.
Watermelon contains the carotenoid β-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A, antioxidative phytonutrient lycopene linked to different health benefits including lowering cholesterol, and also citrulline that increases nitric oxide levels in the body and therefore has a role in vasodilatation and proper blood flow. It is also reported that citrulline helps reducing muscle soreness after workout.
Besides being healthy it is also refreshing and hydrating. Watermelon is good for removing toxins, can help you lose weight because of the low calorie value, and may reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties are because of the presence of vitamin C, β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene.
As a result of the high water and small fiber content, watermelon will help in keeping your bowl movement healthy. Because they contain a magnesium and iron, watermelon seeds can also be eaten. Watermelon seeds can also be a healthy snack – you can drizzle them with olive oil and salt, and bake them in the oven.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Moderate consumption of watermelon has no serious health risks. On the other side, excessive use of watermelon has its downsides. For example, eating only watermelon will deprive your body of proteins and fats.
Consuming large amount of watermelon can also cause intestinal problems like nausea, indigestion, bloating and diarrhea. It can also cause over-hydration and can lead to loss of sodium in the body. If the water is not removed from the body, it can cause swelling and may interfere with kidney function. So, when counting your water intake, do not forget to include watermelon in the equation.
People who have diabetes should not forget to count the sugar calories from watermelon in their daily sugar intake. Otherwise, this can cause a glucose spike. In addition, people who have increased levels of potassium should not consume large amounts of watermelon. Addition of potassium (from the watermelon) can result in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems.
There are a few variations of the watermelon diet. Some people start with a few days of eating only watermelon that is actually a deprivation period. Then they either go back to the normal eating routine or add food gradually. The diet is attractive because it is short. People find it easier to commit if it is only a few days rather than to introduce lifestyle changes.
When starting the diet, you should keep in mind that eating only watermelon will result in lack of proteins and fats. Therefore, the diet should be introduced only temporarily, not as a long-term eating habit. In addition, pregnant women, children and people with special diet should avoid practicing the watermelon diet.
In general, watermelon is a very healthy fruit, with high water content and a lot of nutrients. However, you should combine it with other food especially proteins and fats, as it does not contain any.