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Over the years, Watermelon has been regarded by people either as a fruit or as a vegetable. It has botanical name Citrullus lanatus and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant which originated in southern Africa. Watermelon has a smooth rind which is usually green with a sweet inner flesh, (which contains a lot of water when eaten). The inner flesh is usually deep red to pink and sometimes it can be yellow or orange in colour, containing many seeds. Watermelon has been cultivated in Egypt for so long, around 2nd millennium BC and around 10th century AD it had reached other parts of the world like China and India and later spread to other parts of the world. In Nigeria, it is one of the major crops that are being grown nowadays because it can be cultivated in almost all part of the country, from South West to Northwest, Southeast to Northeast, even the middle belt of Nigeria. Watermelon can be eaten raw after washing or can be made into juice. However, it is important to note that this plant has beneficial effects on our health. They are discussed below;
- Maintenance of the Skin The vitamin A present in watermelon is an important nutrient which is required by the skin for the production of sebum for keeping body hair moisturized. Vitamin A also is necessary for the growth of tissues found in the body (which the skin is one of them). Adequate intake of vitamin C also is needed for the formation of collagen, an important protein which provides structure to skin and hair.
- Prevents Muscle Soreness and Strengthen The Bones Researchers believe that watermelon and its juice can facilitate quick recovery from muscle soreness and pain; this is likely due to the presence of amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient which is essential for healthy cardiovascular activities and from recent research, scientists now believe that lycopene is important for bone health.
- It Serves As Anti-Inflammatory Watermelon contains Choline which is one of the important nutrients present in it. Choline helps our body in sleep, muscle movement, memory and learning activities. It also helps in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes; it helps in the transmission of nerve impulses. The presence of Choline makes watermelon essential for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.
- It Serves As A Means of Hydration Watermelons are the perfect example of a food that can help you stay hydrated. They have high water (read on the benefits of water to health here) content that can help keep the body hydrated, and their juice also contains good electrolytes. This can even help prevent heat stroke.
- Watermelon Aids Digestion Watermelon contains fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive tract and helps keep you regular. Digestion and regularity due to water and fiber content in watermelon help to prevent constipation and enhance regularity for a healthy digestive tract. However, it should be noted that not only the pink or red inner part of the watermelon is edible. Some people throw away the rinds and seeds not knowing that whereas these also have their own benefits. The rind can be blended together with some lime. The rind contains more amino acid citrulline than the pink inner flesh.
Citrulline is converted to arginine in the kidney, it should also be known that Citrulline is not only important for the health of the heart and maintaining the immune system (read on how the body immune system works) but also have a lot of potential therapeutic values. Also, black watermelon seeds are edible and beneficial; they contain iron, zinc, protein, and fibre.
In conclusion, the benefits of watermelon for the healthy living of humans cannot be underestimated. Watermelon is essential for the well being of humans when consumed in the appropriate amount. Live Healthily!!!
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