If you think about watermelon it might be that its sweet flavor comes to your mind. This fresh and juicy fruit is well-known for being incredibly delicious but it has a lot more to offer than just a sweet taste: it is full of nutrients that are very beneficial for boosting your health too!
While the health value of watermelon is commonly underrated, during the summer it is one of the main stars of the season, appearing at picnics, during beach escapes and family or friends gatherings. Either way, it is a burst of intense colors that adds shine to your plate.
I’m going to teach you which are the health benefits this fruit can bring you. Here are some of the most interesting watermelon facts you probably didn’t know before!
Watermelon Nutrition Facts
Although this fruit is mostly water (almost 91% of its total content), it is soaked with useful nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
There are 30 watermelon calories per 100g of fruit, so if you have one watermelon cup for your snack time, you will be eating only 46 calories.
However, even if it’s true that eating low-calorie foods will help you to maintain a balanced diet, it doesn’t mean you are free to eat large amounts of watermelon without being concerned about it.
Your diet must be visualized as a whole list of all the eating decisions made throughout the day, and eating lots of watermelons won’t benefit your health if the other meals you had during the rest of your day are highly caloric or if your daily physical activity doesn’t imply burning many of the calories.
Proteins are important for muscle growth, cell division, and wound healing. Amino acids are the blocks of proteins and they cannot be created from scratch by the organism, so it is very important to include sources of them in your daily diet.
One watermelon serving size of 100g contains 0.9g of protein, which is equivalent to 1% of the size of a whole watermelon. As it has almost no proteins, you must be aware to include important sources of this macronutrient in your meals in order to keep a balanced diet.
Watermelon plays an essential part of my daily eating habits to reduce the craving for sweets. One of my biggest pleasures is to have one slice of watermelon topped with ricotta cheese for snack time. This way, I can have the benefits of eating watermelon without forgetting to include proteins for my body!
If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, you must be wondering how many carbohydrates are in watermelon.
The total amount of carbs in one cup of watermelon is 11.6g. These carbohydrates are divided into a 0.6g dietary fiber (which promotes good digestive health) and 9.5g of sugar. The sugar levels of this fruit are high, therefore if you suffer from diabetes you must eat it in moderation.
Luckily, no one needs to sacrifice taste or nutrition to stick to a low-carb diet while having this delicious fruit! But remember that its safe consumption depends on many factors, such as how much watermelon you’re eating, your overall diet and any medical condition you may be suffering from.
This fruit is almost totally free of fats and cholesterol! One cup (0.24 liters) of watermelon will provide you with 0.2g of fats. You can be confident that choosing watermelon over junk food will save you not only a lot of calories but high quantities of fats.
However, remember that it is not a specific food but your daily overall calorie and fat intake which determines whether you gain some pounds or not.
You can be sure about the good decision of choosing watermelon instead of fatty foods that could cause an undesired increase of your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, but if your entire diet is filled with eating decisions that include high-fat density foods, watermelon won’t have a massive impact on your overall health.
Vitamins and minerals
To maintain a healthy body you need to fuel it with the proper vitamins and minerals. Keeping this in mind, I can assure you that watermelon is an excellent food choice to supply these elements.
In one cup of watermelon you can find many of these nutrients:
Iron is an essential mineral used by your red blood cells to transport oxygen around your body, and the only way to get it is from your diet.
The iron content of watermelon is not too high and the FDA advise adults to get 18 mg of iron per day. If you are having 1 cup of watermelon, this is equivalent to 2% of your recommended daily intake.
Watermelon should not be your only source of iron and it is better for you to combine your diet with meat or fish which are substantial contributions to the dietary iron daily intake.
Most of the body’s sodium is located in the bloodstream, helping the fluid keep its normal place with an appropriate balance. Also, it has a major role in muscle function and the nervous system.
The recommended daily sodium intake according to the FDA is 2,300 mg. There is 2 mg of sodium in one cup of watermelon, meaning this fruit is a very low sodium supply.
As you can see, your main source of sodium cannot come only from watermelon, and you have to include other types of foods to reach your recommended daily intake. However, if you suffer from heart or kidney diseases, ask your physician first how much sodium you can consume a day due to your particular case.
Watermelon qualifies as an incredible source of vitamin C and many other types of vitamins with health benefits, such as vitamins A, B6, and B1. One serving of watermelon contains more than 33% of the daily value recommended for these nutrients.
All of these vitamins are important to protect your body against radicals and their oxidative action, functioning as antioxidants, as well as improving your whole immune system while promoting cellular regeneration.
Is Watermelon Juice Good for You?
Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits to eat and it is incredibly tasty. Its health properties are not limited to only the piece of fruit: watermelon juice offers all kinds of health benefits too while being a delicious beverage with the power to calm down your thirst on a warm day.
Watermelon juice contains only 76 calories in one cup. This proves that its calorie content is higher than the one of one cup of watermelon fruit pieces. The same applies to its carbohydrate content, too.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t drink it and enjoy its tasty flavor! But you need to drink it in moderation, being realistic that this increased amount of calories and macronutrients in your diet won’t cause any harm to your health only if you don’t drink it in excess and you take into account your daily eating habits.
This being said, I can’t stop mentioning that watermelon juice is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and even fiber. Also, its high amount of water helps you to feel satisfied while keeping well hydrated and cleaning out your body from toxins. It doesn’t need to be summer and you don’t need to be on holiday to enjoy all the positive effects of watermelon juice.
Can Diabetics Eat Watermelon？
There aren’t studies linking the exclusive consumption of this fruit with a poor diabetes control. However, when you consider your overall diet, its consumption may have an impact on your blood sugar levels if your eating habits are not as low-carb as they should be.
When deciding which foods are convenient to add to your diet, you must watch out two important references: their glycemic index (GI) which defines how fast the sugar and carbs consumed can spike up your blood sugar levels and the glycemic load (GL) known as the combination of the GI and the carbohydrate quantities that any food can have.
If you are diabetic, these concepts must be familiar for you. They are excellent resources you can use to help you to manage your diabetes and control your daily intake of carbohydrates. Your ideal foods must have a low or medium GI to be considered safe-to-consume for you, as they won’t increase your sugar blood levels rapidly.
Watermelon has a high GI with a low GL, and the GL is considered an important value to determine whether a specific food can affect your glucose levels or not.
However, the GI has an impact on this as well and taking into account that this nutritional reference is high, you must balance any meals containing this fruit with other low-GI foods, to reduce any sugar blood rise up.
So, to answer the initial question: yes, watermelon can affect diabetics due to an increase in glucose levels, but only if it’s eaten in large amounts. Follow the below principles and you will enjoy its flavor without causing any harm to your condition:
1. Eat it in moderation
Apart from avoiding eating it in large amounts, combine watermelon with other smart food choices, such as low GL or protein sources like cheese.
2. Be aware of your blood sugar levels
Eat it while your blood sugar control has been maintained stable during a certain period of time. If your diabetes management hasn’t been very well, try to control it and watch out your diet before introducing watermelon into your meals.
3. Avoid drinking watermelon juice
A glass of this juice contains twice the amount of watermelon than the one found in 1 cup of the piece of fruit. You will be consuming too much sugar, causing your glucose blood levels to reach an undesired level.
4. Organize when to eat it
Decide the best moment to eat watermelon between 2 high-carb meals. Check your sugar blood levels before eating it and wait until another time if the levels aren’t good enough.
Does eating watermelon help with weight loss?
Watermelon alone won’t destroy your belly fat, but it can be very helpful in your weight loss journey to lose fat without getting bored with your diet.
Losing some pounds involves burning more calories than the ones you eat and watermelon is one of the food options that offer small amounts of calories. To wisely add it into your diet, there are several tips that you should certainly follow that I will discuss in this post.
Add it to your snack options
Chose to snack on watermelon instead of eating junk food such as a bag of potato chips. You will save tons of calories while adding healthy nutrients to your body.
Avoid eating watermelon at night
This fruit is associated with slow digestion while being asleep. This means that eating watermelon after 7 pm won’t bring any benefits as it will stay undigested until the next day, developing stomach health problems after waking up.
Another issue associated with it is the high water content which can result in an increase of the peeing desire throughout the night, leading to sleep deprivation.
It’s a good candidate to prolong fullness sensation
Being always hungry won’t make you stick into your weight loss diet. The key is to eat foods that help you feel full for longer periods of time and that prevent you from overeating. Watermelon can accomplish this purpose due to its high water and fiber content.
In my opinion, watermelon is one of the sweetest fruits that truly helps to diminish the natural cravings for sugary foods, while having health benefits for the body. However, its consumption must be wise if you suffer from diabetes or if you have a weight loss goal.
Something that is overdone will certainly not bring anything good for your body, so my best recommendation is to eat watermelon in moderation and combine your diet simultaneously with other healthy choices that can properly meet your macronutrients and calorie intake requirements for the day.