Nothing beats fresh fruit in the summer, and watermelon is at the top of our list—both as a guilt-free “dessert” and because it comes with insane hydration perks. According to Watermelon.org, 87% of Americans believe you have to drink something to stay hydrated, and three out of five Americans claim they have less energy on days when they don’t prioritize hydration. Getting enough fluids every day is key to running at your optimal performance. But beverages aside, it’s important to know food can be hydrating, too. Watermelon is 92% water, and also boasts a cocktail of vitamins necessary for muscular recovery and immune support, like vitamin C, potassium, and vitamins A and B6.
Read on to learn more about the top six nutritional watermelon health benefits that come from the flesh of the fruit. Bonus: the seeds and rind are also edible. The black and small white seeds provide ample fiber, protein, iron, and heart-healthy fats, and believe it or not, you can actually marinate the rind in vinegar to use as a relish, or like a pickle on the side of a dish. (Just a few more reasons we love this useful, healthy fruit!)
Watermelon Health Benefits: 6 Reasons to Eat this Tasty Snack
1. Watermelon Keeps You Hydrated
Watermelon is almost ALL water, making it an efficient snack to replenish fluids lost through sweat. Basically, it’s a beverage you can chew.
2. Watermelon Fuels You Fast
The natural sugars in watermelon are quickly converted into blood glucose to give your brain and body that boost of energy you need to achieve peak performance. A 2-cup serving has about 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 17 of them from natural sugars.
3. Watermelon Helps the Body Metabolize Protein
The vitamin B6 in watermelon helps the body process protein—an excellent complement to protein intake after a HIIT workout. The more protein you consume, the more B6 you’ll need to convert it into muscle food. A 2-cup serving of watermelon has approximately 5% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B6.
4. Watermelon Prevents Cramping
Two cups of watermelon provide about 8% of the daily recommended value of potassium, an electrolyte that helps to maintain the body’s water balance and prevent muscle cramps. Chase it with a banana for even more potassium.
5. Watermelon Is a Sensible Snack
As a low-calorie, naturally sweet treat, watermelon can help an athlete achieve or maintain goal race weight. A 2-cup serving has just 80 to 90 calories and is also cholesterol- and fat-free.
6. Watermelon Fights Muscle Fatigue
Researchers with the Journal of Applied Physiology are studying how the amino acid L-citrulline in watermelon may reduce muscle soreness and delayed-onset muscle fatigue. This is another reason why drinking watermelon juice before and after workouts has become so popular in the past few years.