Researchers Discover New Watermelon Health Benefits

According to new research, watermelon improves overall diet quality and heart health by increasing nutrient consumption, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while decreasing added sugars and saturated fatty acids. Another study reveals that drinking watermelon juice can help protect vascular function, perhaps improving cardiometabolic health.
Researchers Discover New Watermelon Health Benefits
Watermelon is undeniably a tasty and nutrient-dense fruit. New research reveals its critical function in improving nutritional quality and maintaining heart health.

According to a recent study published in Nutrients, watermelon can improve nutrient absorption and overall diet quality in both children and adults. Based on an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), this study revealed that persons who consumed watermelon had considerably higher overall diet quality than those who did not.

Children and adults who ate watermelon had higher intakes of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A, as well as lycopene and other carotenoids, while having lower intakes of added sugars and total saturated fatty acids, according to the study. Kristen Fulgoni, the study's research analyst and author, will present the findings at Nutrition 2023, the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting, which will be held in Boston from July 22-25, 2023.

Aside from the NHANES study, another new study published in Nutrients expands on past research in this field to indicate that watermelon juice supplementation maintains vascular function during hyperglycemia.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, conducted at Louisiana State University, looked specifically at the potential beneficial modulating effects of L-citrulline and L-arginine - two compounds found in watermelon - on nitric oxide bioavailability and heart rate variability. The National Watermelon Promotion Board supported both investigations.

"While the sample size was small (18 healthy young men and women), and more research is needed, this study adds to the existing body of evidence supporting regular consumption of watermelon for cardio-metabolic health." Watermelon also contains antioxidants, vitamin C, and lycopene, which can help reduce oxidative stress and play a role in heart disease prevention, according to Dr. Jack Losso, Ph.D., professor at Louisiana State University's School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit per day, yet most adults and children in the United States fall short of this target, eating only about half of the recommended daily fruit consumption. Watermelon is a nutrient-dense fruit that is high in Vitamin C (25% DV), high in Vitamin B6 (8% DV), and a tasty way to remain hydrated (92% water) with only 80 calories per 2-cup serving.

Thoughts of juicy watermelon at your next BBQ or outdoor gathering are likely to evoke recollections of eating the perfectly ripe fruit in summers past. Watermelon can be eaten at any time of year due to the variety of climates that allow for year-round production. Whether you're looking forward to the first indications of summer or not, let this new nutrition research urge you to incorporate watermelon as part of a well-balanced diet.


“Watermelon Intake Is Associated with Increased Nutrient Intake and Higher Diet Quality in Adults and Children, NHANES 2003–2018” by Kristin Fulgoni and Victor L. Fulgoni III, 18 November 2022, Nutrients.