A refreshing and cool treat, watermelon has developed a name for itself in recent years as the fruit of choice for dieters. It’s a fun, delicious fruit that usually accompanies a barbeque spread or a fruit platter, however, it also provides a host of health benefits.
What does watermelon consist of?
The name says it all: watermelon is 92 percent water! The other 8 percent includes antioxidants and fiber, making it a low-calorie yet fiber-filled option that fills you up and can over-snacking. Its seeds, in particular, are one of the more nutrient-dense varieties of seeds—they contain protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, and more.
One cup of watermelon contains only 46 calories and 9 grams of sugar, and offers a variety of nutrients and amino acids like vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene, and citrulline.
Is watermelon good for weight loss?
Watermelon is a superfood that can help you crowd out, or fill up on the good stuff, so that you won’t have room to snack on empty calorie foods like a bag of chips or handful of candy. It’s low on the glycemic index because of its fiber content, meaning it won’t induce a spike in your blood sugar that often comes from eating fake and artificial foods that are full of added sugar. Watermelon is also great served on its own so you can satisfy your sweet tooth, keep your calorie count low, and get a healthy dose of nutrients while you're at it!
When it comes to weight loss, experts are wary about the benefits of a one-ingredient detox such as the watermelon diet. Registered Dietitian Sheri Vettel says “Relying on one food for a quick fix is just a temporary solution that doesn’t address the root cause of any weight concerns.” She emphasizes that “weight loss is best approached as a lifestyle, not as a fad diet.”
After spending 3-4 days eating only watermelon or drinking only watermelon juice, you are likely to flush out any toxins, salts, or excess water in the body. However, as with most fad diets, this is not a sustainable way to keep off weight for a long period of time. It’s best to take advantage of the fruit in moderation, such as having a serving for dessert after a balanced meal, or as a snack. This allows you to reap the fruit’s benefits while continuing to obtain essential macro and micronutrients from other areas of your diet.
The benefits of eating more watermelon.
Though the watermelon diet is not a foolproof way to keep off weight, consuming watermelon more regularly as part of a healthy and varied diet can influence other areas of your health that lend to a healthier weight and lifestyle:
1. It can boost your immune system.
Watermelon contains nutrients like vitamin C, lycopene, and beta carotene, all of which have a positive effect on your immune system. These antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, aid in repairing damaged tissue, and give your body the stamina to fight the common cold. Lycopene, specifically, is a carotenoid that gives watermelon its vibrant red color, and it works to lower inflammation in the respiratory tract.
2. It can lower your blood pressure.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, it may be helpful to try adding more watermelon into your diet. A study conducted by the American Journal of Hypertension found that adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension who took watermelon extract had reduced ankle and brachial blood pressure. This was likely due to its citrulline content which helped the body produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels in the body, allowing for more efficient blood flow.
3. It’s hydrating.
There's nothing like biting into a juicy slice of watermelon for a fresh and hydrating snack! With 92 percent water content, watermelon is a great option to quench your thirst when you’re craving something to munch on. It’s rich in potassium, which can replace lost electrolytes that are essential for maintaining hydration.
4. It can reduce muscle soreness.
Who knew that a slice of watermelon could help with post-exercise aches and pains? As mentioned above, watermelon contains amino acid L-citrulline, which is known to help improve recovery following exercise. Citrulline can increase blood flow and have a positive effect on your muscles by stimulating protein synthesis and decreasing amino acid breakdown.
5. It can improve your skin, hair, and vision.
Watermelon is rich in beta-carotene, a molecule that breaks down into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is known to boost your skin’s natural glow and provide extra moisturization for your hair. It also aids in the promotion of red blood cells, new cell growth, and improved vision.
Potential risks of the watermelon diet.
The watermelon diet is a restrictive food plan that prevents you from getting the necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber that you need daily. If you’re a generally healthy person, your body will most likely have an easy transition back to its normal functions following a detox. However, too much watermelon, generally about 4 cups or more per day, might add excess water to your body that could cause bloating, diarrhea, or indigestion.
Any restrictive food plan or diet should be done with the support of a healthcare professional like a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. When it comes to improving your health, it’s recommended to follow a diet that’s varied yet balanced. Enlisting the help of a Health Coach can help you reach any health-related goals and implement recommendations provided to you by your RD, nutritionist, or physician!
Breaking down the facts.
It's clear that watermelon is not only delightful and nutritious, but also a superfood that can aid your long-term, sustainable weight loss and overall holistic health goals. There’s no reason to overdo it! Though a fad diet may produce instant results, you’re better off integrating the fruit into your diet in moderation.
Sticking to a balanced and nutritious diet is easier said than done. Learn helpful tools to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes by checking out an IIN Sample Class today!