What is the watermelon?
The watermelon is the fruit of Cocos nucifera, a species belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family that is thought to be native to Africa and later was taken to Asia, Europe and North America. Currently the world's leading watermelon producer is China.
What are the nutritional properties of the watermelon?
100 g of watermelon (edible portion) provide 16 calories broken down as follows:
- 89% carbohydrates
- 10% protein
- 1% lipids
In particular, 100 grams of watermelon bring:
- 95.3 g of water
- 0.4 g of protein
- 3.7 g of soluble sugars
- 0.2 g of fiber, of which:
- 0.02 g of soluble fiber
- 0.2 g of insoluble fiber
Among the vitamins and minerals, 100 g of watermelon provide:
- 8 mg of vitamin C
- 0.1 mg niacin
- 0.02 mg of riboflavin
- 0.02 mg of thiamine
- 37 micrograms of vitamin A (retinol equivalent)
- 280 mg of potassium
- 2 mg of phosphorus
- 7 mg of calcium
- 3 mg of sodium
- 0.2 mg of iron
The watermelon is also rich in phenolic compounds, including flavonoids, carotenoids (particularly beta-carotene and lycopene) and triterpenoids (in particular of cucurbitacin E).
When should you not eat watermelon?
No interactions between dietary consumption of watermelon and action of drugs has been found.
Seasonality of the watermelon
The watermelon season is usually limited to the months of July and August.
Possible benefits and drawbacks of the watermelon
Together with tomatoes, watermelon is one of the fruits with the highest content of lycopene, a carotenoid with beneficial properties in the cardiovascular system and according to some recent research, the bones. Furthermore this fruit is a source of citrulline, an amino acid that once in the body it is converted to arginine; this can promote good cardiovascular health. Phenolic compounds of the watermelon provide an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection; to the latter also contributes vitamin C, present in this fruit in abundant quantities.
No known specific risks are associated with the consumption of watermelon, which is considered mildly allergenic and according to Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in 2015 the Environmental Working Group says it is not included in the list of products most at risk of pesticide contamination.