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Historians say that watermelon originated from Africa and was first cultivated in Egypt. From there, the fruit found its way to China around the 10th century and then to the Western Hemisphere shortly and then Russia, where there is a popular wine made from it.
It went on from there to Turkey, Iran and the United States. Watermelon is one fruit that has been recommended by medical, nutritional and beauty experts as health promoting.
“The more we study watermelons, the more we realise just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Centre in College Station, said. He added that “we’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”
Watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium which protects the body from numerous diseases, a research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Nutrition has said.
The journal added that eating lycopene-rich fruits like watermelon could reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer and could lower inflammation that may cause hypertension and heart disease.
And if the information given by a study done by Indian Association of Urologists is to be followed, it will be helpful to eat watermelon because of its lycopene content. Lycopene, the study said, is helpful in increasing male fertility by improving both sperm concentration and motility.
Aparup Mukherjee, in his “Health Benefit of Watermelon”, answered a question on if water melon isn’t nothing more than a ball full of water” by stating that “the health benefits of water melon include kidney disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart care, heat stroke, macular degeneration, impotence, etc.”
He wrote that the fruit contains a lot of potassium, which helps in cleaning off toxic deposits in the kidney. Invariably, eating watermelon may help ward off kidney disorders,
experts believe. Mukherjee believes that watermelon is “helpful in reducing concentration of uric acid in the blood, thereby reducing the chances of kidney damages and formation of renal calculi in it. Added to these, being high in water content, it induces frequent urinating, which is again helpful for cleaning the kidneys. Also, the anti-oxidants present in it ensure healthy kidneys.”
Terri Hall-Jackson, in her own “Surprising Health Benefits of Watermelon”, stated that “Watermelons are an excellent source of several vitamins: vitamin A, which helps to maintain eye health and an antioxidant; vitamin C, which helps to strengthen immunity, heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy teeth and gums; and vitamin B6, which helps the brain function and helps to convert protein to energy. It is a great source of potassium, which helps to maintain the body’s proper electrolyte and acid-base balance, and helps to lower the risk of high blood pressure. Watermelon also contains the amino acids, citrulline and arginine, which can help to maintain arteries, blood flow and overall cardiovascular function.”
Dr Femi Fasina, a human nutritionist in Ibadan, Oyo State, recommends that people eat watermelon to prevent high blood pressure. He explained that the amount of magnesium and potassium found in watermelon is very good in bringing down high blood pressure. He also said that studies have found that “carotenoids in watermelon serves in the capacity of preventing the veins and the arteries walls from hardening, thereby working as an agent of reducing high blood pressure.”
According to a published article on WHFoods, watermelon serves as protection against macular degeneration, which is a primary cause of loss of vision in older adults. It cited a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, which stated that eating three or more servings of fruit per day may lower an individual’s risk of age-related macular degeneration by 36 per cent, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.”
Watermelon has been linked with prevention of heat stroke, experts have concluded. They said because watermelon is effective in reducing an individual’s body temperature and blood pressure, it is recommended that people in the tropical region eat this fruit daily during the hot season.
Since this fruit serves as energy booster, according to experts, people living with diabetes will particularly find it useful. “Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Our food ranking system also qualifies watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, and potassium. Part of its high-ranking is due to the high nutrient richness of watermelon. Because this fruit has higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits (a whole cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories), it delivers more nutrients per calorie—an outstanding health benefit!,” WHFoods said.
And as Mukherjee wrote, diabetes patients, who are supposed to have low energy and low sugar diet, often complain of starving since they don’t get to eat their staple diet to their full, giving them a feeling of being half fed. Watermelons can be a good supplement for them. In spite of being sweet in taste, its thick wedge will give you very few calories, since 99 perbcent of its total weight is composed of water and roughage.
“Moreover, the various vitamins and minerals in watermelons help in proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus lowering the blood sugar level. Arginine, another component found in water melons, is very effective in enhancing the impact of insulin on sugar. Diabetes patients can also have curries, steaks, salads made from water melon rinds which are even lower in sugar,” he added.
Dr Fasina recommends that children should be introduced to daily consumption of watermelon as early as possible so it can help their muscle and nerve function.Share