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By JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO/Science and Nature/Monday, September 20, 2021

What Are The Health Benefits Of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)?

                              
                            
This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Where did watermelon originate from? Who brought watermelon America? Who first made watermelon? What was the original color of watermelon? What does watermelon do for your body? Is it good to eat watermelon everyday? What are the 10 benefits of watermelon? What happens if I eat a watermelon a day? What is bad about watermelon? When should you not eat watermelon? Why should you not eat watermelon? How does watermelon affect the body?

History of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae plant family. The latter contains a number of familiar garden vegetables including cucumber, squash, pumpkin and musk melon. Members of this family are monecious, meaning they bear separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The edible part of a watermelon is known as a pepo, which is a ripened ovary (fruit) with watery flesh and a hard rind. From a usage standpoint, watermelon is consumed as a fruit, but it still is classified as a vegetable. Watermelon's history dates back 5000 years to southern Africa where the tough, drought-tolerant ancestor of watermelon thrived. Although we don't know the exact identity of this plant, we do know it was prized for its ability to store water and was used by indigenous people in the Kalahari Desert region. Unlike today's watermelon, it had very bitter flesh. Speculation exists, in addition to taking advantage of its water content, people endemic to the region roasted and ate its seeds as a source of nourishment. Soon thereafter, watermelon found its way to Egypt where it was first improved. Both seeds and paintings of watermelon have been discovered in Egyptian tombs more than 4,000 years old. Some tomb paintings depict an oval-shaped watermelon, indicating the round wild type must have been improved by ancient plant breeders. Quite likely, it was during this period of early improvement that progress was made in developing melons with sweeter, more palatable flesh. Thus, watermelon was slowly transformed from a source of water to an enjoyable food. Seedless watermelons were initially developed in 1939 by Japanese scientists who were able to create seedless triploid hybrids which remained rare initially because they did not have sufficient disease resistance. Seedless watermelons became more popular in the 21st century, rising to nearly 85% of total watermelon sales in the United States in 2014.

Description of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

The watermelon is an annual that has a prostrate or climbing habit. Stems are up to 3 metres (10 feet) long and new growth has yellow or brown hairs. Leaves are 60 to 200 millimetres (2+1/4 to 7+3/4 inches) long and 40 to 150 mm (1+1/2 to 6 in) wide. These usually have three lobes that are lobed or doubly lobed. Young growth is densely woolly with yellowish-brown hairs which disappear as the plant ages. Like all but one species in the genus Citrullus, watermelon has branching tendrils. Plants have unisexual male or female flowers that are white or yellow and borne on 40-millimetre-long (1+1/2 in) hairy stalks. Each flower grows singly in the leaf axils, and the species' sexual system, with male and female flowers produced on each plant, is (monoecious). The male flowers predominate at the beginning of the season; the female flowers, which develop later, have inferior ovaries. The styles are united into a single column.

Health Benefits of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

  • Watermelon has a high water content which makes it hydrating and helps you feel full
  • Watermelon is a low-calorie fruit high in some nutrients, especially carotenoids, vitamin C and cucurbitacin E
  • Some compounds in watermelon, including cucurbitacin E and lycopene, have been studied for their potential to prevent cancer
  • Watermelon has several heart-healthy components, including lycopene, citrulline and other vitamins and minerals
  • Lycopene and vitamin C are anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in watermelon which can help tackle many chronic diseases
  • Watermelon may help keep eyes healthy and protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Watermelon juice has some potentials in recovery beverage after exercise due to the presence of Citrulline which is responsible for easing muscle soreness
  • Several nutrients in watermelon are good for your hair and skin
  • Watermelon possesses fiber and water which are important for healthy digestion

Side Effects of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

  • Consuming in large quantity may give rise to digestive problems like diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence, and gas
  • Excess consumption of watermelon may increase blood sugar levels if you are diabetic
  • People who drink alcohol regularly should avoid having large quantities of watermelon as the high level of lycopene may react with alcohol, further causing liver inflammation
  • May cause over-hydration or water intoxication ( a condition when your body has excess of water in it, which leads to loss of sodium content)
  • Too much of potassium produce from the excessive intake of watermelon can lead to cardiovascular problems like irregular heartbeat, weak pulse rate
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