Superfoods That Begin with “W” – Watermelon
With just 48 calories per cup and packed with water, this refreshing fruit makes for the perfect healthy snack mid-summer (or any time of year). It’s low in sugar, and high in vitamins A and C, as well as the amino acid citrulline, which help the body produce another amino acid, arginine. Arginine can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease . This melon’s also a great source of lycopene, the super-healthy essential carotenoid found in tomatoes, that studies suggest can protect the body from UV rays, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.
Watermelon’s high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study at Purdue University. Also, the fruit’s concentrations of citrulline and arginine are good for your heart. Arginine can help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helpedreduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults.
The lycopene in watermelon makes it an anti-inflammatory fruit. Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, the watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down.
Reducing inflammation isn’t just good for people suffering from arthritis. When you’re sick, you have cellular damage, which can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, smoking, pollution, or disease. This causes your body to have systemic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help with overall immunity and general health by working to eliminate inflammation.
“Watermelons are the perfect example of a food that can help you stay hydrated. Their water content can help keep you hydrated, and their juice is full of good electrolytes. This can even help to prevent heat stroke.
The watermelon contains fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive tract.
Skin and hair benefits
Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your daily recommended intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.
Watermelon-loving athletes are in luck: drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce next-day muscle soreness and heart rate, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This can be attributed to watermelon’s amino acids citrulline and arginine, which help improve circulation.
Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation.
Other “W” Superfoods
By Kathy Casey