When it comes to fruits that help beat the summer heat, the first thing that comes to our mind is watermelon. Being high in water content, eating a few slices of watermelon can be a perfect thirst quencher. After eating the watermelon, we usually throw away the rind.
Did You Know?Water content in watermelon is approximately 92%, and moreover, the fruit is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B5, and folic acid.
However, did you know that the watermelon rind is edible, and also contains nutrients that can benefit overall health. Although the rind is not as nutritious as the fruit itself, it certainly doesn't deserve to be discarded because of the following health benefits it can provide.
Improves Blood Circulation
Watermelon rind is high in citrulline, one of the many non-essential amino acids that serve as building blocks of protein. A study conducted at the Texas A&M University's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center observed that the rind has 60% higher citrulline content than the flesh. In our body, citrulline changes to arginine, which plays a key role in expanding blood vessels. As the blood vessels dilate, it helps promote better blood circulation. So, by eating watermelon rind regularly, one can actually boost synthesis of arginine, which may contribute in enhancing blood circulation. Moreover, citrulline facilitates elimination of toxic substances such as ammonia from the body.
Good for the Heart
With watermelon rind promoting healthy blood circulation, it can always be beneficial to the heart. As the rind supports efficient blood flow, it may work to protect the heart from clogged arteries. No wonder, arginine supplements are prescribed for the treatment of cardiovascular problems such as congestive heart failure (CHF), angina, and coronary artery disease.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The presence of citrulline in watermelon rind that supports dilation of blood vessels, may contribute in lowering high blood pressure. The increased production of arginine rind associated with intake of watermelon rind may help in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
It has long been suggested that watermelons have a Viagra-like effect. Now, eating watermelon rind may offer the same benefit. By increasing levels of arginine, watermelon rind can cause blood vessels to expand, thus achieving the same effect as Viagra. So eating watermelon rind may work to treat erectile dysfunction.
Contains Beneficial Nutrients
Citrulline is not the only beneficial compound found in watermelon rind. It is also a good source of phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene that are well-known for their antioxidant properties and potential anticancer benefits. The rind also contains small amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Watermelon Rind During Pregnancy
Many are aware of the health benefits of the watermelon rind, yet refrain from eating it due to its unpleasant bitter taste. A better option is to have watermelon rind pickle―a sour and spicy condiment―which is particularly found to be beneficial in relieving morning sickness. As the rind can dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, it can help relieve muscle cramps that are common during pregnancy. Apart from pickling watermelon rind, you can also cook it to make soup and use it in curries. Small pieces of chopped rind can also be put in the juicer to get the juice.
Before using watermelon, do wash it properly, and preferably, choose watermelon that is grown organically. Opting for conventionally grown watermelons increases your risk to pesticide exposure when having the watermelon rind. You may have to peel the skin if the fruit is not organic.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.