New research suggests that watermelon may be even more nutritious than previously thought, and can help lower your risk of heart disease. A recent study published in Nutrients found that people who consumed watermelon had a greater intake of essential nutrients including dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A, as well as lycopene and other carotenoids. These findings are similar to previous studies which have shown eating fruit in general contributes to nutrient intake, but other studies have lacked looking at watermelon specifically. People from the data analysis who consumed watermelon also had lower intakes of added sugars and total saturated fatty acids.
Watermelon is also associated with other health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance, and reduced muscle soreness. The heart health benefits of watermelon are linked to lycopene, a plant-based antioxidant, which is associated with lowering your risk of developing heart disease or prematurely dying from heart disease. Watermelon is also high in an amino acid known as citrulline, which can dilate blood vessels and may promote muscle growth.
To incorporate more watermelon into your diet, nutritionists suggest replacing high-sugar desserts with watermelon, bringing watermelon as a snack during activities, freezing watermelon and making slushies, and adding watermelon to salads. Watermelon salad makes a great summer side dish, and watermelon salsa is another tasty option.
While watermelon is a good source of lycopene, other fresh foods such as tomatoes, papaya, guava, pink grapefruit, and sweet red peppers also contain similar nutrient profiles. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may also assist with heart health. Additionally, incorporating more healthy fats and fiber-rich foods while maintaining a low intake of added sugar, refined grains, and fried foods can also be beneficial.
Overall, watermelon is a nutritious and tasty option for those looking to improve their heart health and nutrient intake.