4 Reasons You Should be Eating Watermelon This Summer

Photo: Thinkstock/Dangubic

Watermelon is a summertime favorite and for some their fruit of choice for hot days, picnics and barbecues. Crisp, juicy and sweet, it’s a refreshing snack that’s packed with nutrients. While the taste of watermelon should keep you happy, knowing the health benefits will keep you coming back for one more piece. 

It Has Anti-Cancer Effects

Watermelon is rich in lycopene, which gives watermelon its red hue and the same cancer-fighting phytochemical that is present in tomatoes. Lycopene has been well researched and its properties include reducing oxidative stress, which increases the risk for cancer. Research continues to give high marks to lycopene for its antioxidant properties — just another reason to grab a watermelon this summer.

It’s Also Anti-Inflammatory

Lycopene is responsible for watermelon’s anti-inflammatory properties as well. Acute, short-term inflammation is normal, but chronic inflammation is linked to autoimmune diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Eating foods that specifically fight inflammation are beneficial to overall health. A study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology concluded that the lycopene in watermelon had strong anti-inflammatory properties and may be considered a functional food in the near future.

It Provides Hydration

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one third of Americans drink less than 4 cups of water per day. Acute dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches, while long-term dehydration can negatively affect kidney function. Watermelon is 92 percent water and loaded with vitamins and minerals. With so many Americans indicating that they don’t drink enough water, watermelon is a nutritious choice for hydration.

And It’s Tasty, Of Course

One cup of diced watermelon supplies 21 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and 17 percent for vitamin A. It’s naturally sweet and fat-free. It’s a refreshing summertime treat that is good for your body and your taste buds.

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Sarah Pflugradt
Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN, is a freelance writer, blogger at Salubrious RD. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.