Nearly 92% of watermelon is water, leaving 8% which is rich in nutrients, especially lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid and of interest due to its anti-oxidant capacity – it fights free radical damage. Lycopene is responsible for giving many fruits and vegetables their deep red or pink colour. Watermelon actual has more lycopene than raw tomatoes.
Watermelons are also surprisingly high in Vitamin C, which is great for improving our immune system by protecting our cells from damage. It is also known to help heal wounds in the body, and is essential to making new connective tissues.
The nutrients are very similar throughout the entire watermelon, and not concentrated in the darker red centre. Actually, the white rind, which isn’t normally eaten, has some of the higher nutrient concentration. In addition to lycopene, watermelon also provides the body with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, both known for their antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Vitamin C as we know helps to improve immune function therefore decreasing the duration of sickness and improving symptoms, plus it helps the body defend against heart disease and cancer.
Watermelon is also considered an alkaline food, which means it helps to bring the pH level of the body back to a neutral/healthier state. It is believed that diseases have a much harder time developing in an alkaline environment within the body, compared to an acidic one. Eating many alkaline-forming foods can protect your body from disease by decreasing inflammation.
Watermelon rind offers a high dosage of L-citruline, an amino acid, which helps to dilate vessels and improves blood circulation. Watermelon may also relieve muscle soreness; try juicing 1/3 of fresh watermelon prior to next workout. Blending the white rind is a great way to utilise those nutrients, or juicing the whole watermelon is even better (just make sure you wash it beforehand, or buy organic).