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Herbal Benefits of Watermelon

This delicious summer treat is one of the best foods for heart health and contains important nutrients that help the body function properly.  In addition to the medical benefits of watermelon, this fruit also contains a high amount of water, making it easier to get plenty of water to help the body stay in top condition. 

Nutritional Information

Watermelon is considered one of the world's healthiest foods and is listed in the George Mateljan Foundation WHFoods database.  Because this fruit grows on a vine, it is related to pumpkins, cantaloupe and squash.  With nearly 25 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, along with vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin B1, magnesium and potassium, watermelon is a low-calorie treat that packs a healthful punch.  One cup of watermelon has just 48 calories. 

Health Benefits

Watermelon is one of the best natural sources of antioxidants.  It contains vitamin C and vitamin A, and pink watermelon contains a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene.  These antioxidants act to neutralize free radicals so that they cannot damage cells and cause cellular mutations.  Because cellular mutations are responsible for cancer, eating watermelon and other foods rich in antioxidants can provide a protective effect for the body.  Watermelon can also help prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol so that it can adhere to the walls of the arteries and cause blockages of blood flow. 

The lycopene in pink watermelon has been tested in humans and has a demonstrated protective effect against several types of cancers.  They include breast cancer, lung cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.  Watermelon is a very good source of B vitamins that help the body produce energy.  It also contains arginine, which can help reduce blood pressure levels, prevent erectile dysfunction and improve the body's sensitivity to insulin.  One research study also showed that watermelon can be effective in helping to prevent a condition known as age-related macular degeneration. 

Warnings

Watermelon is an excellent source of nutrients, but it should be avoided by people with some medical conditions.  Do not eat watermelon seeds if you have Crohn's disease, diverticulitis or other inflammatory bowel conditions.  The seeds can get stuck in the intestine and cause obstructions and other complications.  If you have ever had an allergic reaction to watermelon, squash, cantaloupe or pumpkin, do not eat watermelon, as these fruits are in the same family and may cause similar allergies.