You might think of watermelons as little more than water and mush, but they actually come packed with nutritional value. Watermelons are low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, they provide you with with vitamins such as A, C and folate -- and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. The nutrients in a cup of melon balls can provide health benefits that range from protecting against cancer to giving contraception a helping hand.
That cup of watermelon balls will provide you with 876 international units of vitamin A, which is 37 percent of the recommended daily intake for women. Vitamin A promotes better vision at night, battles against cancer-causing molecules known as free radicals that invade healthy cells, and prevents infections inside the mouth and on the skin. It also boosts your immune system, helping you make white blood cells you need to fend off disease.
Popping watermelon balls into your mouth can also provide 12.5 milligrams of vitamin C, or 17 percent of the recommended daily intake. The vitamin C in a cup of watermelon also joins the battle against free radicals as an antioxidant. Vitamin C increases the efficiency with which your body absorbs iron and calcium from vegetables. According to “The New Antiaging Revolution,” snacking on watermelon balls throughout the season can help raise your good HDL cholesterol while preventing bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and building up plaque on the walls of blood vessels, thanks to its vitamin C content.
Watermelons also provide some vitamin B-6. The .1 milligram of vitamin B-6 in watermelons may potentially benefit some women who are using oral contraceptives. A study conducted at Tufts University concluded that the majority of oral contraceptive users who were not taking B-6 supplements showed a deficiency in this vitamin. According to the Colorado State University Extension, although no conclusive evidence has yet been collected to show that women on oral contraceptives should increase their intake of B-6 and vitamin C in order to prevent deficiencies, all pregnant women should take great care to ensure they get the recommended amounts of these vitamins.
Potassium and Magnesium
Snack on watermelon as a source of magnesium and potassium. A cup of watermelon contains 15 milligrams of magnesium -- 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for women -- and 172 milligrams of potassium, or 4 percent of the recommended daily intake. Potassium plays an active role in regulating the heartbeat and keeping muscle contractions operating efficiently as well as assisting in controlling the balance of water in the body’s cells. Magnesium keeps bones developing properly and helps potassium out with keeping the rhythm of the heart beating normally, according to “Minerals, Supplements and Vitamins.”
- HealthAliciousNess: Watermelon Raw
- Colorado State University Extension: Nutrition and Oral Contraceptives
- "The New Antiaging Revolution;" Dr. Ronald Klatz and Dr. Robert Goldman; 2003
- "American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide;" Robert Larson Duyff; 2002
- "Minerals, Supplements and Vitamins;" H. Winter Griffith; 2000
- Ub-well.com: Tufts University Study
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.