First impressions can be misleading is an adage that best qualifies the watermelon. Many would like to believe that the summer fruit is all water and sugar. But, in fact, the watermelon is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there. Read on to know more about this underrated health food.
Is It A Fruit Or A Vegetable?
Most people believe watermelon to be a fruit, and rightly so. It’s got smooth rind and a sweet, watery flesh at its center. Plus it’s loosely considered as a part of the melon family. From a botanical perspective, the summer fruit is a ripened ovary of a seed plant and given its sweet taste, thus ticking the necessary boxes to qualify as a fruit.
However, it’s also true that the watermelon belongs to the cucurbitaceae family. In other words, it is a form of gourd, much like the cucumber and squash, and it’s grown much like a vegetable. Thus, it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to consider it as one too.
So, how you want to classify the watermelon i.e. as a fruit or a vegetable, that choice is entirely up to you.
Interesting Watermelon Facts
Many folks associate watermelons with the deep red or pink color of its fleshy interior. That’s mainly because of the presence of specific type of carotenoid (pigment) called lycopene in abundance. However, there do exist other watermelon varieties in which the lycopene component isn’t so high. As such, these varieties feature white, yellow or orange colored flesh.
Commercial variety watermelons can either have seeds or be seedless. In order to obtain seedless fruits, breeders make use of hybridization wherein they cross the pollen of a diploid (containing 22 chromosomes per cell) watermelon plant with the flower of a tetraploid (containing 44 chromosome per cell) watermelon plant. The fruit of the resulting offspring feature seeds that look white in color. When these seeds are planted, the watermelon fruit thus produced will be seedless.
Watermelon Health Benefits
Mentioned below are some of the more prominent pro-health attributes of the summer fruit:
Hydration and Energy: Essentially, one cup of diced watermelon contains 92% water and 6 % sugar. What it means is that you will receive an instant boost in hydration and energy upon consuming the fruit. The same rings true for watermelon juice.
Blood Pressure Control: According to the American Journal of Hypertension, supplementing the body with watermelon extract could arrest burgeoning BP levels in obese middle aged adults, especially those suffering from stage 1 hypertension. This can be attributed to the amount of citrulline component found in watermelons which is known to improve blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels (termed as vasodilation).
Natural Viagra: The aforementioned relationship between citrulline and vasodilation may be extended to male genital region. Given that medications like Viagra have a similar effect, there is hope that one could reduce chances of erectile dysfunction through adequate consumption of foods like watermelon which has appreciable citrulline content.
Inflammation: Choline is another component found in watermelon and it has a role to play in sleep regulation, memory, learning and muscle movement. But, its major effect is seen in the area of maintaining structural integrity of cells, a factor that’s of great significance in checking inflammation.
Skin And Hair Health: Watermelon has adequate quantities of vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A improves health of hair follicles by naturally moisturizing them. Similarly, vitamin C is needed by the skin and hair for maintaining collagen and when you add the hydration ability of the summer fruit, it can only spell one thing- healthy skin and hair follicles.Tags: fruit and vegetable, health, health benefits, watermelon