Delicious, lightweight and refreshing, watermelons are made up 92% water. Given its name, you might think the fruit lacks nutritional value. But think again. A 10-ounce wedge of watermelon is packed with plenty of vitamins A and C, which is enough to meet around one-third of the recommended daily intake of these vitamins. It also contains moderate amounts of potassium, which is equivalent to 9% of the recommended daily value.
Botanically speaking, the fruit comes from the Cucurbitaceae family, and is related to the other family members like squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe that grow on vines on the surface of the ground. It is commonly recognized throughout many tropical countries where it is considered one of the main commercial fruit crops.
Calories & Nutritional Benefits
A fresh, diced cup of watermelon contains 46 calories, 2 of which come from fat. Watermelon makeup is 8% sugar and 92% water. One wedge of the fruit contains around 86 calories, 2.2 grams of carbohydrates and 1.1 grams of fiber. Similarly, a cup of watermelon balls contains around 46 calories, 11.6 grams of carbohydrates and 0.6 grams of fiber. At present, there are hundreds of different types of watermelon developed by cultivators and farmers, which greatly vary in taste, color and texture from type to type.
In spite of the varying groups, the number of calories in watermelons stays relatively the same. The most popular group of watermelon remains the seedless, which weighs around 10 to 20 lbs and comes with a sweet, bright red flesh with edible little white seeds. Two cubed cups of seedless watermelon has 70 calories. Another popular watermelon group is the picnic watermelons, where buyers can choose between purchasing seeded and seedless watermelons.
Picnic watermelons have a dark red flesh and small black seeds, are sweet and weigh around 8 to 14 pounds. Icebox watermelons are another common type, and as their name suggests, they are compact enough to fit perfectly in a refrigerator, weighing 6 to 12 pounds. Another slightly different watermelon group is the Yellow Watermelon. They have a green exterior but have yellow flesh and are actually sweeter than red-flesh watermelons.
Nutritional Facts at a Glance (100 Grams)
- 2 grams of fat
- 0 grams of cholesterol
- 1 milligram of sodium
- 112 milligrams of potassium
- 8 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of dietary fiber
- 6 grams of sugar
- 6 grams of protein
- 11% vitamin A
- 13%vitamin C
- 2% Magnesium
- 1% Iron
A Watermelon contains 7.5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, or 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup. The carbohydrates are typically sugars, like glucose, sucrose and fructose. Besides that, the fruit also has small quantities of fiber. Watermelons have a glycemic index, which can range from 72 to 80, and is a measure of how fast foods result in increased blood sugar levels right after meals. Each serving of watermelon is comparatively low in carbohydrates, thus its consumption does not have a significant impact on the blood sugar levels.
Watermelons are not a great source of fiber, containing only 0.4 grams per 100 grams. But they are believed to be rich in short-chain fermentable carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs.
Minerals and Vitamins
Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, and is packed with other various minerals and vitamins.
- Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant which is essential for a strong immune system and healthy skin. It is also known to contribute towards reducing the risk of numerous health problems, including cataracts, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. Vitamin C is also useful for lowering hypertension, healing wounds and treating vasodilation.
- Copper: A mineral which is usually found in plant foods, and usually lacking in the western diet
- Potassium: A mineral that is extremely important for a healthy heart and blood pressure control, Potassium helps reduce the risk of stroke, kidney disorders, stress and anxiety, as well as improving metabolism, strengthening the muscles and maintaining water balance, electrolytic functions and nervous system. Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and plays an important role in improving overall health. It consists of vital minerals that are imperative for maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle. In addition to acting as an electrolyte, potassium is required for keeping the heart, brain, muscle tissue, kidneys, and other fundamental organs of the human body in best condition.
- Vitamin B-5: Also referred to as pantothenic acid, vitamin B-5 can be found in almost every food to a certain extent. The vitamin has various health benefits which include reducing the risk of hair loss, asthma, allergies, anxiety and stress, heart problems and respiratory disorders.
- Vitamin A: Watermelon is a great source of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. 100 grams of fresh watermelon provides 569mg or 19% of the daily-recommended intake of this vitamin. It is one of the most important vitamins for immunity and vision, and for maintaining healthy skin and mucus.
Besides tomatoes, watermelons have made their way to the list of foods with high lycopene content. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that is especially essential for our cardiovascular health, and present day scientists believe the nutrient to be of benefit for the health of our bones. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, a 2-cup serving of watermelon contains about 15 to 20 milligrams of lycopene, some of the highest levels found in most fresh produce.
Besides been linked with heart and bone health, lycopene is also believed to contribute to prostate cancer prevention and anti-inflammation.
Citrulline is a type of amino acid which is commonly converted by our organs, such as the kidneys, into arginine (another type of amino acid). The watermelon’s flesh has around 250 mg of citrulline per cup. When our body absorbs citrulline, one of the things it can do is convert it into arginine, which is especially beneficial for individuals whose bodies do not produce sufficient amounts of arginine. Higher levels of arginine help improve the flow of blood and other aspects of the heart health.
Watermelon is 92% water, and a great way to keep your body hydrated. Furthermore, the juice is rich in electrolytes, which can contribute to better heart health. Besides, staying hydrated brings a myriad of benefits that include better digestion, fresher looking skin and a body that is low in toxins and other harmful contents.
There are several ways in which you can store watermlones: uncut or cut, fresh or frozen. Uncut watermelons must be stored at a temperature of 55 degrees or higher and will last for almost two weeks. If you decide to store your watermelons at room temperature, you can expect them to last for around 7 to 10 days, and up to 7 days in warmer temperatures. When you cut open the fruit, make sure to thoroughly cover the exposed surface with a plastic wrap or dice into pieces and put them in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Doing so will keep your watermelon fresh for two days. If you want to freeze the fruit, it is a good idea to cut it into chunks, slices, cubes or wedges and remove the rind and seeds. Cover the cut pieces with a single layer of cookie sheet and store them in the refrigerator until frozen. Once frozen, store them in airtight bags while leaving half an inch for expansion. After taking out the watermelon from the freezer, you must use it within a span of four days.
Watermelon Sorbet Recipe
- ¾ cup of water
- ½ cup of sugar free honey
- 6 cups of chunked watermelon, choice of seedless or seeded
- 2 tbsp of lime or lemon juice
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Add water and sugar in a pan and let it boil while stirring it slowly to properly let the sugar dissolve. Next, let the sugary water simmer down for about five minutes on low flame, then remove and let it normalize to room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes. When the sugary syrup is cooled, let it chill in the refrigerator for 60 minutes. Mix limejuice and watermelon in the blender until smooth, and pass it through a strainer or sieve to get rid of any seeds or unwanted pulp.
To the juice, add the sugary syrup and mix it well. Next pour the mixture into a cake pan (or any other type of pan) and put it in the freezer until you start noticing the formation of ice crystals around its edges. Stir the mixture and put it back in the fridge, and repeat the process every 20 minutes or so until completely frozen. You can either serve this immediately or transfer the sorbet to an airtight, plastic container and keep it in the freezer until ready to serve.