Watermelon is a well-known juicy fruit or vegetable available during summer season. As the name itself suggests it is the melon full of water. It is juicy, refreshing, tasty, nutritious, full of natural anti-oxidants and vitamins. They are the safest natural diuretics. Diuretics are those agents which increase the urinary output and electrolyte excretion. They are useful in various diseases such as high blood pressure, fluid retention, oedema, acute and chronic renal failure, sciatica, kidney stones, lymphatic swelling, liver disorders and many more diseases. Natural diuretics work by stimulating the kidney to produce more urine by reducing the amount of water and salts that the kidney reabsorbs into the bloodstream. This improves the functioning of tissues and organs, and also, prevents fluids from accumulating in tissue matrices.
By Steve Evans (Watermelons)[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Watermelon belongs to the gourd family (pumpkin/cucumber family) called Cucurbitaceae and the genus Citrullus. They grow on vine that lay on the ground like other members of this plant family. The leaves of plant are used as folk medicine to treat blood vomiting. For this purpose the leaves are ground to make paste or the juice is administrated.
Scientific Classification of Watermelon
Species- C. lanatus
Latin name: Citrullus lanatus
Vernacular names in India
SIDDHA: Poiychaviral, Tharbuzapalam
ENGLISH: Water melon
TAMIL: Pitcha, Dharbusini
Nutrition in Watermelon
Watermelon contains 96% water, no cholesterol of dietary significance and only a small amount of fat. It is low in calories and sodium. It is good source of vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium.
About 78% of watermelon fruit is edible. The edible part contains moisture 96%, Protein 0.2%, Fat 0.2%, fiber 0.2%, carbohydrates 3.3%, minerals 0.3%. In per 100 grams, Calcium is 9mg, phosphorus 12mg, iron 7.9mg, magnesium 13mg, sodium 27 mg, potassium 160 mg, copper 0.05mg, Sulphur 42mg, and chlorine 21 mg.
Benefits of Watermelon Seeds
- The seeds of watermelon are good for brain and heart.
- They are excellent sources of protein (both essential and nonessential amino acids) and oil.
- They are cooling, demulcent, diuretic, vermifuge and nutritive.
Recent scientific studies have shown substance extracted from seeds has a definite action in dilating the blood vessels, which results in lowering the blood pressure. Another reason why these seeds are good for heart is their richness in potassium, magnesium and diuretic action.
In high blood pressure, as a home remedy, the seeds kernel of watermelon and poppy seeds are ground separately and they are mixed in equal amount. This powder is taken in dose of 3 grams every morning on empty stomach with water and at night. This reduces blood pressure and headaches. This preparation is also helpful in treating insomnia. It should be taken for 3-4 weeks as required.
The milky juice extracted from the seeds by grinding them and straining with a muslin cloth on oral intake lowers high blood pressure.
Watermelon seeds are also useful for renal calculi/stones due to their diuretic action.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon are available during summer season. They are cool in potency and eating them helps to reduce the heat inside body. Eating watermelon helps to replenish the electrolytes which we lose through sweating. It also hydrates body and quenches the thirst. This fruit is fat free but helps in energy production. Watermelon is cooling, diuretic and nutritious. It is good for heart, brain, urinary system and digestive system. Watermelon is helpful in many health ailments that occur during summer season like burning sensation in urine, burning sensations in whole body, excessive thirst, fevers, irritability, summer heat, sunstroke UTI (urinary tract infection) etc.
There are several benefits of eating watermelon. Few of them are given below.
- It has diuretic properties. It is the safest natural diuretic. It stimulates the production of urine and thus gives relief in burning sensation of urine.
- It quenches the thirst and balances pitta inside body. Excess pitta inside body is responsible for burning sensation.
- It regulates the acid-base balance inside body.
- It removes toxins from blood.
- It is rich in carotenoids including lycopene, phytofluene, phytoene, beta-carotene, and lutein.
- It is high in lycopene and thus helps to prevent cancer. It contains anti-oxidants and certain anticancer compounds.
- It is helpful in lowering the cholesterol level.
- It is excellent for all the diseases of the heart.
- In UTI, juice of watermelon with sugar and cumin seeds (jeera) gives beneficial results.
- It is also useful in weight reduction diets as they have high water content with a high satiety value.
- It is good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium and lycopene.
Caution while eating water melon and Side-effects
- Do not eat watermelon empty stomach in the morning.
- Never overeat watermelon.
- Do not drink water after eating watermelon .
- Excess intake of watermelon cause more urine production but lesser stool output. Watermelon should be avoided by people with weak digestion, asthma, and excessive urination.