My absolute favorite season is summer! One of my favorite things about summer is watermelon. With the solstice giving us a reason to celebrate, watermelon is in order! The summer solstice is the annual moment when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. For us, it occurs Thursday at 6:07 a.m. EDT. That marks the beginning of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Many people around the world celebrate the summer solstice with music and festivities. In England, hundreds of people travel to the Stonehenge to celebrate the first day of summer. Solstice celebrations there have been going on for thousands of years.  Since a summer celebration seems to in order…think watermelon! It is very healthy. It’s abundantly available and can be used in many ways.
 

 Helps You Hydrate

 
Drinking water is an important way to keep your body hydrated. Eating foods that have a high water content can also help. Watermelon is 92% water (1). A high water content is one of the reasons that fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.
 

Contains Nutrients and Beneficial Plant Compounds 

 
As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories with only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries (2). A cup of watermelon has many other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:.
 
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
 
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
 
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
 
  • Magnesium:4% of the RDI
 
  • Vitamins B1, B5, and B6: 3% of the RDI
 
  • Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid. It contains compounds that may help prevent cancer. Researchers have studied lycopene and other individual plant compounds in watermelon. Although lycopene intake is linked to a lower risk of some types of cancer, the results are mixed. The strongest link so far seems to be between lycopene and cancers of the digestive system (1). Lycopene appears to reduce cancer risk by lowering insulin-like growth factor (IGF).
 

Improve Heart Health          

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Lifestyle factors including diet may lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Several nutrients in watermelon have specific benefits for heart health. Studies suggest that lycopene may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also help prevent oxidative damage to cholesterol (1).  Studies show in obese postmenopausal women and Finnish men lycopene may help in reducing artery walls.
 

Lower Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases. Watermelon may help lower inflammation and oxidative damage. This is due to the rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidants lycopene and vitamin C . In a 2015 study, lab rats were fed watermelon powder to supplement an unhealthy diet. Compared with the control group, they developed lower levels of C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation and less oxidative stress. In an earlier study, humans were given lycopene-rich tomato juice. Omit, their markers of inflammation went down and antioxidants went up. Watermelon has both lycopene and vitamin C.
 

Help Relieve Muscle Soreness

Citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, may reduce muscle soreness. Watermelon juice appears to enhance the bio-availability of citrulline. One small study gave athletes plain watermelon juice. Watermelon juice mixed with citrulline or a citrulline drink. Both watermelon drinks led to less muscle soreness and quicker heart rate recovery, compared to citrulline on its own. The researchers also conducted a test-tube experiment, investigating the absorption of citrulline. Their findings suggest that absorption is most effective when it’s consumed as watermelon juice. Other research has also looked at its potential to improve exercise performance. So far, citrulline doesn’t seem to improve exercise performance in the amounts studied. It’s still an area of research interest.

 

Good for Skin and Hair 

Two vitamins in watermelon — A and C — are important for skin and hair health. Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin supple and your hair strong. Vitamin A is also important for healthy skin since it helps create and repair skin cells. Without enough vitamin A, your skin can look dry and flaky. Both lycopene and beta-carotene may also help protect your skin from sunburn.