There are few things more refreshing and hydrating and a slice of sweet and juicy watermelon.
This exotic West African fruit of crunchy texture is indeed a favorite thirst-quenching fruit since about 92% of it is water! (1) By the way, tt’s high water content is also a good ally to keep our intestines moving regularly to promote optimal bowel movements.
One of watermelon’s nutritional merits that take this bright red fruit straight into the Fruit Hall of Fame relies on its high lycopene content. In fact, a cup of watermelon has more lycopene than one cup of raw tomatoes (cooked tomatoes have the highest lycopene content of all foods!). Lycopene, among other things, works as a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. (1)
Watermelon is a rich source of several heart-healthy nutrients such as the minerals potassium and magnesium, which help us keep our blood pressure levels in check. It also contains the amino acid citrulline which may help our blood vessels expand to lower blood pressure. (2, 3)
Despite its sweetness, watermelon is low in calories and sugar. One cup of cubed watermelon has only 46 calories!
Watermelon is well tolerable by most people, however it contains undesirably higher amounts of FODMAPs — sugars (fructans, fructose and polyols) that some people have trouble digesting.
FODMAPs can exacerbate some symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) if consumed in amounts higher than tolerable. These symptoms may include bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation. (4, 5)
If you suffer from IBS or you think you may have it, it is best to limit consumption of watermelon to a few tablespoons or to completely avoid it.
A diet low in FODMAPs for some time has been shown to be an effective dietary strategy to keep the debilitating IBS symptoms at bay. (6)