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Watermelon Health Benefits

Watermelon Is Heavenly in Summer — but Is It Hydrating? We Talked to Dietitians to Find Out

Group of young friends holding watermelon slices on a wooden stick on rooftop party, having fun, toasting.

There's something about a simple bowl of cubed watermelon amid Summer's thick heat that makes my worries disappear — eating it basically feels like its own form of self-care. And, as the weather does what it does best in these warmer months and you're ready to cut one up for tasting, here's the lowdown of nutritional info you should know.

Watermelon Nutrition

Some fast facts for you — one cup contains:

  • About 46 calories
  • 9 grams sugar
  • 11 grams carbs
  • Less than 1 gram protein
  • .23 grams fat (which is to be expected, since it's made up of about 92 percent water)
  • 170 mg potassium (which is 4 percent of your daily recommended value)

Watermelon has vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant in red-colored fruit and vegetables like tomatoes that is shown to reduce the risk of cancer, improve cardiovascular health, and help with UV protection. Pro tip: registered dietitian Brittany L. Jones of Blush Nutrition told POPSUGAR the darker red the watermelon is, the more lycopene it will have.

Megan Meyer, PhD, director of science communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, noted that watermelon is lower in fiber than some other fruits like berries, apples, and oranges. For example, one cup of watermelon has only .6 grams of fiber, whereas one cup of blueberries has 3.6 grams.

Can Eating Watermelon Keep You Hydrated? And, Can You Eat Too Much of It?

Dr. Meyer explaind that "while about 80 percent of our water intake comes from drinking fluids, the other 20 percent comes from the foods we eat." Water content in food varies, but since watermelon is made up of over 90 percent water, she said it can help with hydration. Eating a large amount might, though, leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortably full because of the high water content, she noted.

Watermelon is also considered a high-FODMAP food (which stands for "Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols"), meaning it may not be absorbed well and could cause gas. "If you have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, you may want to limit how much you eat," Dr. Meyer said. You can read more about FODMAP foods here. Fruit in general is one of the "best carbohydrate choices you can make," Jones said, since these are natural sugars, "but it's important to add some non-starchy vegetables and protein to your meals as well to round out your plate."

Watermelon Recipes

POPUSGAR has tons of fun ideas for making watermelon into a true star of any dish. There's this no-bake watermelon cake with vanilla bean whipped cream, berries, and almonds; watermelon salad; and even watermelon tacos. Whether you want to eat it fresh or glam it up with some feta and olives, it's melon time — we can feel it!

Image Source: Getty / fotostorm
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