No other fruit is as enjoyable on a hot summer day as sweet, juicy watermelon. With its high water content and delectable taste, it is the ultimate thirst quencher. In addition to its deliciousness, watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse. It is packed with antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins and other important compounds, that have a variety of health-promoting effects.
Per 1-cup serving, watermelon contains under 50 calories and provides a healthy dose of antioxidants. The antioxidant vitamins, A, C and E, protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and help stunt the effects of aging. The USDA also notes that antioxidants may help prevent chronic diseases, including cancer. Per serving, watermelon contains nearly 25 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and over 10 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, making it a very good source of these vitamins.
Watermelon is also a good source of vitamin B-1, also known as thiamin. One cup provides nearly 10 percent of the recommended intake for this vitamin, which plays a critical role in the production of energy from food. Vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine, is also found in watermelon. This essential vitamin helps your body break down glycogen, the storage form of fuel used between meals. This helps keep your blood sugar levels steady if you skip a meal.
Watermelon is also packed with lycopene. In addition to giving watermelon and foods such as grapefruit and guava their pink hue, lycopene may help protect you from heart disease. Tomatoes are usually noted for their lycopene content, but watermelon contains 40 percent more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Like vitamins A and C, lycopene may also function as an antioxidant to protect your cells from damage associated with aging. About 1 1/2 cups of watermelon provides 9 to 13 mg of lycopene.
Watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid citrulline. Your body converts citrulline to the amino acid arginine, which helps your body repair itself and aids in the removal of wastes. Because they assist with vasodilation, or relaxing your arteries, these amino acids may help control blood pressure.