Watermelon is a common fruit sold in markets throughout the world. Though it’s sold year-round, it’s actually a summer fruit.1 Watermelon belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, making it a relative to pumpkins and cantaloupe.1 It’s native to Africa but began spreading throughout the world many centuries ago.1 Watermelon features a green outside shell with a sweet red center. Watermelons come in many different sizes and shapes, from small and round to large and oblong.1
Watermelon is packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, which is known to act as an antioxidant, heal wounds, and aid in iron absorption.2,3 Because of its high water content, watermelon is a low-calorie food, which means you’ll eat fewer calories for the same amount of nutrient-denseness compared to other foods.4 Watermelon has also been studied for its lycopene content.4 This fruit is known to contain more lycopene than tomatoes, another food known for its high lycopene content.5 Lycopene is a natural pigment that gives watermelon and other fruits their red color.6 It acts as an antioxidant, meaning that watermelon benefits patients with cancer--particularly prostate cancer--and various heart conditions.7,8 Other watermelon benefits include for:
Watermelon is considered safe for consumption. However, it’s best to head caution if you are allergic to other melons or similar fruits. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for certified organic watermelon. Watermelons grown in parts of China may contain traces of a synthetic growth stimulator called forchlorfenuron.4 Watermelon is safe to consume for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers; in fact, it’s encouraged.10 Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about allergies, non-organic watermelon, or interactions with other herbs or medications you’re taking.