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July 2010 – Watermelon: A Sweet & Healthy Summer Pleasure

July 2010 – Watermelon: A Sweet & Healthy Summer Pleasure

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Fotini Lappa MSc
Sports Dietician

Summer is here and hot is hitting red. There are many summer fruits that refresh us but definitely the first place has the watermelon! With sweet red flesh and ‘food of the angels’ by Mark Twain, watermelon either alone or accompanied by white cheese (usually halloumi or anari) can be a healthy snack or a light dinner. Also, can be used in water ice, fruit salads, with low fat yogurt, as a dessert spoon, in sorbet ice creams or even in alcoholic beverages.



Many people think that watermelon does not contain vitamins and nutrients as other fruits and that the only thing it provides is water and sugar. Fortunately, for the lovers of watermelon, this perception is wrong. It is actually true that 90% of watermelon consists of water and that sugar content rises up to 5%, but recent research has shown that watermelon is rich in vitamins A, thiamin (B1), vitamin B6, C, lycopene, potassium and fiber and contains no cholesterol. So, we can conclude that with these characteristics watermelon is particularly beneficial for our health.

The reason for the sweet taste of watermelon is that sugar is the main substance which gives it its flavor, unlike with other fruits that have more sugar content (e.g. apple). It is also worth noting that watermelon provides only 40 calories per 100g. But because it is very easy to over-consume it due to its ‘light’ flavor we have to set a limit in its consumption in order to avoid being overweight.

Health Benefits


  1. Watermelon is an excellent source of antioxidants since it contains vitamin C, beta-carotene and biotin thus protecting the body from various types of cancer.
  2. Also, it contains vitamin Α which is important for eye health and besides that it strengthens the lymphocytes which fight against infections.
  3. Vitamin C helps our body’s immune system against infections and also protects the body from metabolic products that accelerate the aging process.
  4. Vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters, substances that play an important role in many neural functions, help to cope with stress and generally contribute to a better spiritual and mental health.
  5. As for potassium, -contained in high levels- helps to regulate blood pressure and has a diuretic effect.
  6. The fiber containing watermelon acts against constipation and create a sense of satiety.
  7. Finally, the watermelon is particularly rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Also, helps to prevent various types of cancer (prostate cancer, breast cancer). It is worth noting that the lycopene contained in watermelon is biologically more active and available than that contained in tomatoes (the best known representative of lycopene).

In conclusion, watermelon is an important source of nutrients and can be used as a healthy snack for energy, to prevent dehydration as well as a food shield to our health.

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