How Healthy Is Watermelon?

How Healthy Is Watermelon?

Watermelon is undeniably the quintessential fruit of summer. In the United States, its popularity surpasses that of cantaloupe, honeydew, and all other melons combined. Beyond its refreshing taste, watermelon offers numerous health benefits, making it a perfect choice for hot weather.

Hydration Benefits

True to its name, watermelon consists of more than 91 percent water. Eating an average-size wedge (about 10 ounces) is equivalent to drinking a full cup of water. Hydration is essential for maintaining bodily functions, from promoting blood flow to ensuring bowel regularity. Especially in hot weather, when fluid loss through sweat is higher, the water content in watermelon helps keep you hydrated. Older adults, who often feel less thirsty, may find it easier to meet their hydration needs through water-rich fruits like watermelon.

Low in Sugar and Calories

Contrary to popular belief, watermelon is not excessively sugary. A one-cup serving contains about 9.5 grams of sugar, less than the 13 grams in a cup of chopped apples or nearly 15 grams in a cup of blueberries. With just 46 calories per cup, watermelon can be a guilt-free, sweet treat that won't cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels. When included in a balanced diet, its water content and natural sweetness can help you feel satisfied without consuming too many calories.

Heart Health

Watermelon is both fat- and sodium-free, which is beneficial for heart health. It contains the amino acid L-citrulline and the micronutrient lycopene, both of which are linked to cardiovascular benefits. L-citrulline is converted by the kidneys into nitric oxide, which can relax artery walls and lower blood pressure. Lycopene, more commonly associated with tomatoes, is also abundant in watermelon and can reduce inflammation linked to heart disease. Although watermelon is not a substitute for medication, incorporating it into a nutrient-rich diet may support vascular health.

Enjoying Watermelon

Watermelon is best enjoyed fresh, as it doesn't lend itself well to canning, drying, or freezing. Its seasonality adds to its charm, evoking summer memories with every bite. From salads to soups and drinks, there are countless ways to enjoy watermelon. Here are some refreshing recipes to try:

  • Farro and Watermelon Salad: Combine watermelon with farro, cheese, herbs, and red onion for a satisfying grain bowl.
  • Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho With Avocado: This chilled soup blends watermelon with overripe tomatoes for a refreshing summer dish.
  • Country Panzanella With Watermelon Dressing: A mix of watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, toasted ciabatta, and crumbled feta, topped with a watermelon dressing.
  • Watermelon Chaat: Toss watermelon cubes with a spicy cumin-citrus dressing for a savory snack or side dish.
  • Watermelon Ginger Beer: Blend watermelon into juice and top with ginger beer for a nonalcoholic spritz.

Top Fruit Stands on Cape Cod

When on Cape Cod, make sure to visit these top fruit stands for the freshest watermelon and other local produce:

  1. Crow Farm - Sandwich: Known for its wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, Crow Farm is a local favorite.
  2. Cape Abilities Farm - Dennis: This farm stand offers fresh, locally grown produce and supports a great cause by providing jobs for individuals with disabilities.
  3. E. Falmouth Fruit & Produce - East Falmouth: A trusted spot for fresh fruits and vegetables, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff.
  4. Coonamessett Farm - East Falmouth: This farm offers pick-your-own fruits and a great selection of fresh produce in their market.

Enjoy the health benefits and delicious taste of watermelon this summer, whether you're savoring it fresh or trying out new recipes.

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