Watermelon – benefits, and harms

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Common watermelon (lat. Citrúllus lanátus) is an annual herb, a species of the genus Watermelon (Citrullus) of the Pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae).

The history of the appearance of watermelon in nutrition
It is widely believed that watermelon is the largest berry. However, botanists still do not agree on what kind of plant it should be attributed to. Watermelon is called both the false berry and the pumpkin because it belongs to the pumpkin family.

South Africa is considered the birthplace of watermelons. All types of this berry are descended from one ancestor growing in the Kalahari Desert. The predecessors of watermelons bear little resemblance to the modern familiar red fruits. Initially, watermelon contained very little lycopene, a pigment that colors the flesh. Wild fruits were pale pink, and only by the 20th century, breeders bred red watermelons.

Watermelons were cultivated in Ancient Egypt: seeds are found in the tombs of the pharaohs, images of watermelons are found on the walls of tombs.

The Romans also eagerly ate watermelons, salted them, and boiled syrups. In the 10th century, this large berry also came to China, where it was dubbed the “melon of the West”. And in Russia, Ukraine, they learned about watermelons only by the XIII-XIV century.

Watermelons are cultivated all over the world, especially in China, India, Iran, Turkey. A lot of watermelons are grown in the warm regions of Ukraine and Russia. In some cities and countries, watermelon festivals are held. There are also monuments to this berry: in Russia, Ukraine, and even in Australia and the USA.

Fruits are valued not only for their delicious pulp. They serve as an excellent basis for carving – artistic product carving. And the sound engineers of many films use watermelons to get the sounds of impacts, cracking stones, and others.

The benefits of watermelon
Watermelon is almost 90% water, which is why it quenches your thirst so well. There are practically no proteins and fats in the pulp, but a lot of carbohydrates, which are quickly broken down and provide energy. This fruit is especially beneficial for physically active people. During training, a little watermelon juice or a whole slice will replenish the water supply and saturate with sugars.

  • A quality watermelon is definitely a healthy product. It contains a lot of nutrients that have a healing effect on the human body to prevent cardiovascular and oncological diseases, increase immunity, stimulate the brain, remove toxins and toxins, improve the functioning of the liver and gall bladder.
  • Watermelon has a good saturation of antioxidants, namely, it contains many vitamins such as ascorbic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, carotene, and niacin. In addition, folic acid is present in watermelon, which is especially important.
  • The combination of substances that are important and necessary for the human body contributes to normal development, the structure of DNA, and the protection of immunity.
  • The benefits of watermelon are that it is a very potent natural diuretic. It well ensures the removal of toxins from the kidneys, quickly enough helps to cleanse the body in general, and also prevents salt deposits and prevents the formation of kidney stones.
  • Watermelon is very rich in such a chemical element as magnesium, half the daily dose of which is contained in only one hundred grams of watermelon pulp.
  • In addition, watermelon seed oil contains linoleic, linolenic, and palmitic acids in physical and chemical properties similar to almond oil and can replace it. These seeds also have a hemostatic and antihelminthic effect.
  • And hardly anyone would argue with the fact that the benefits of a watermelon lie in an excellent opportunity to quench your thirst and, it is a natural juicy fruit, and not water with gas or reconstituted juice.
  • The sweet berry has a beneficial effect for cosmetic purposes: the sweet pulp improves the structure of the skin, makes it youthful and toned.

Contains useful substances
Watermelon contains:

Vitamin C (approximately 20% of the RDA)

vitamin A (about 18% of the daily value);

potassium (5% of the RDA);

magnesium (4% of the DV);

vitamins B1, B5, and B6 (3% of the RDA).

Also, watermelon is one of the lowest-calorie foods: only 27-30 calories per 100 grams – which is lower than many other low-sugar fruits and berries.

Proteins 0.7 g
Fat 0.1 g
Carbohydrates 6 g

The harm of watermelon, now has become hazardous to health, and this is due to:

Unscrupulous cultivation
The desire of people to get as much of this berry as possible in one season, managing to harvest more than one harvest of the largest fruits. The rapid growth of the early harvest, alas, is not complete without “spurring” on chemical doping, which has led to the fact that an excellent dietary product has become a source of trouble and harm to our body. In order for the watermelon to quickly gain weight and ripen, it is fed with fertilizers. These are mainly nitrogen fertilizers – nitrates (sodium, ammonium, calcium, and potassium nitrate).
If the watermelon grew and matured in little sunny weather and high humidity, then it will also accumulate a lot of nitrates. Nitrates accumulate in the pulp of the watermelon. By themselves, nitrates are low toxic, but getting into the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract, they are converted into harmful nitrites and N-nitroso compounds that can cause cancer. When stored for a long time, nitrates are converted to nitrites in the watermelon itself.

Wrong storage
By the way, during long-term storage of ripe watermelon, especially in an atmosphere of high humidity, the content of nitrites in it increases several times.
Nitrites disrupt the transport function of the blood – this affects hemoglobin, which can subsequently lead to hypoxia – a lack of oxygen in the tissues. It is especially difficult for children and those who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, as well as diseases of the respiratory and excretory systems.

Violation of the rules of implementation.
Drinking watermelon juice in large quantities can provoke diabetes in a healthy person.

Contraindications:

Even a conscientiously grown, tasty, ripe, and healthy watermelon is contraindicated in the following cases: diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, flatulence, some types of kidney stones, impaired urine outflow, colitis.

How to choose watermelons?

Medium size, hard and shiny rind without cuts or cracks, bright yellow or orange spot on the side – this should be a good watermelon. It is also important how it “sounds”: when tapped, the sound should be moderately sonorous, when squeezed, it should crunch weakly, and when struck with a palm, a good watermelon vibrates.

External signs of the quality of a watermelon:

  • medium size but light
  • no cuts or cracks
  • dry antennae and peduncle
  • striped crust – bright and contrasting, hard and shiny
  • the spot on the side of the ground is bright yellow or orange
  • emits a moderately ringing sound when tapped
  • vibrates when struck by the palm
  • emits a faint crunch when squeezed

The use of watermelon in medicine
In official medicine, watermelon seeds are also used. The oil extract is used for kidney diseases. Due to the diuretic effect and increased excretion of uric acid, the kidneys are cleared of sand. Such a remedy can only be used as directed by a doctor.

Decoction and compresses from watermelon peels and pulp are used to accelerate the healing of wounds on the skin. And the seeds are brewed like tea leaves.

The benefits of watermelon peels
Usually, after eating the pulp of the fruit, the watermelon rind is thrown away. But this part of the watermelon also contains a significant amount of useful components. If they are not spoiled, and the peel itself is thoroughly rinsed and dried, then it becomes completely edible.

The rind of watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels and improves oxygen delivery to muscles. Another benefit of watermelon rind is that it is a source of fiber. High Fiber Diet:

  • reduces the risk of developing colon diseases;
  • helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels;
  • satiates faster while helping maintain a healthy weight.

The use of watermelon in cooking
In most countries, watermelon is eaten simply fresh, unchanged. But, in addition to this, watermelon is prepared in the most unexpected ways: fried, pickled, salted, jam from the crusts and syrup from the juice are boiled. Many peoples like to eat watermelon with salty foods with a bite.

8 thoughts on “Watermelon – benefits, and harms”

  1. I can’t think of too much that is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold, sweet watermelon. Thank you for the added information. My wife and I live in an area where watermelon is really good and plentiful, sold in markets and roadside stands.

  2. What good would a summer be without an addition of watermelon to the diet? It’s cultural significance thus cannot be ignored.

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