Nothing says summer like a chilled wedge of watermelon. This quintessential summer fruit boasts of high water-content—about 90 per cent—and does more than merely helping you stay cool. Apart from being low in calories (just 40 calories per cup) and an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and vitamins A, B and C, this juicy fruit is also a good source of micronutrients like potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Grab a bowl of wonder-melon cubes as you unlock its hidden benefits. And since it's the weekend, let's begin with how the melon helps you...
Beat a hangover
Did you know that watermelon is a great food to beat a hangover? Since the fruit is comprised of almost 92 per cent water, and is rich in electrolytes, it serves as a natural hangover remedy, helping you flush out the excesses of the night before, says Dr Rajeshwari Shetty, Head of Dietetics, SL Raheja Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. Alcohol is known to deplete the body of nutrients and after you’ve danced your way through a fun Friday night, reach out for a bowl of watermelon. The fruit is a good natural diuretic and helps increase urination.
“Low in calories and high in water content, watermelon can fill you up quickly,” says Shetty. It is for this reason that dieticians and nutritionists swear by this fruit and rank it among the top diet foods. Watermelon has also been found to speed up metabolism and flush out toxins and fats, which eventually might contribute to weight loss.
Prevent muscle soreness
A study in the Journal of African Food and Chemistry stated that watermelon, when consumed before or after a workout, can help provide immediate relief from sore muscles. Watermelons contain an essential amino acid that improves blood circulation and relaxes body muscles. Don’t let post-workout muscle soreness make you hit the pause button. Simply sip on a glass of freshly prepared watermelon juice and get back on the road to health.
“Packed with a good amount of antioxidants that strengthen the immune system, this fruit can help you fight infections,” says Shetty. It is a rich source of lycopene—a cancer-fighting antioxidant. “Watermelon is often termed a ‘superfood’ because of its high concentration of lycopene. Apart from giving the fruit its bright red colour, lycopene offers a host of other health benefits including relief from respiratory inflammation, which in turn helps prevent any infection,” says Shetty. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in men.
Beat the bloat
They’re natural diuretics, so they help you flush out excess water and salt as urine, making you feel lighter and more energetic.
Strengthen your ticker
If you’re in the habit of spitting the seeds out, don’t! Watermelon seeds are high in protein and an excellent source of ‘good fats’, they help keep blood pressure in check and lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke. You can eat them raw, sprouted or roasted.
Prevent skin damage
Lycopene, the red carotenoid pigment present in watermelons prevents your skin from sun damage. “As watermelon is a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, it can help combat the formation of cancer-causing free radicals.
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Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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