Ah, watermelons! The juicy fruit that almost everyone cherishes during the summer months is just mouthwatering. We don’t know about you, but here at Facts Legend, we can’t keep out hands off it! Now that its summer, and its raining watermelons everywhere, we decided to do an article on watermelon facts.
So, if you are just as excited as we are, just dig in, and learn these incredible watermelon facts that span from fun facts to health benefits.
Watermelon Facts: 1-5
1. The origins of watermelons can be traced all the way back to Southern Africa where wild watermelons first grew. To be more specific, the Kalahari Desert is believed to be the place where watermelon first originated.
2. The first harvest of watermelon took place in Egypt some 5,000 years ago. There are records of this in form of hieroglyphs on the walls of the ancient Egyptian building that have been studied.
3. Watermelons were put into the burial tombs of Pharaohs as it was believed by the Egyptians that the fruit will nourish them in their afterlife.
4. Watermelon’s access to the world opened through the Mediterranean Sea. They were carried to different countries using merchant ships.
5. Watermelon made it into China somewhere in the 10th century. Since then, the Chinese production of watermelons has only increased to give the country the crown of largest watermelon producer in world.
Watermelon Facts: 6-10
6. Watermelon entered Europe somewhere in the 13th century. The Moors were the people who introduced it in Europe.
7. Citrullus Lanatas – that is the biological name of watermelon and it is from the same family as the squash, pumpkin and the cucumber. This means, the watermelon is considered as a vegetable.
8. Well, just because it is a vegetable, it doesn’t mean that it is not a fruit. Technically speaking, it is a fruit simply because its development takes place from the ovary of the plant after flowering. Also, it contains seeds. This makes it a fruit. Ask a botanist if you want.
9. Watermelon is an amazing fruit because every part of it can be eaten. Yes, every part! The fleshy part inside the rind, the rind and even the seeds – everything is edible.
10. There has been a long-held notion that if you eat the seeds of the fruit, watermelon plant will grow inside the tummy. That’s technically impossible and is something that is told to scare children. The truth is that the seeds are extremely nutritious and chewing them and gulping them down will give you and awful lot of nutrition that your body needs.
Watermelon Facts: 11-15
11. Did you know that there are over 1,200 different varieties of watermelons out there in the world? Green rind and red flesh are the commonest form but hey, did you know that watermelon can be yellow, white and orange as well?
12. Here’s a stunner – there are square watermelons. Japan is the country where these square variants are grown. They don’t grow naturally. They are simply manipulated.
13. Farmers in Japan will simply enclose a watermelon inside a glass box of square shape as it grows. The restricted box will give the watermelon its square shape.
14. The reason why the Japanese farmers grow square watermelons is that they are easy to store in refrigerators and easy to transport. They don’t roll around. Hey wait! Before you run to grab a square watermelon, just know it is very pricey.
15. There is something called Brix Scale. It is used for measuring the sweetness of watermelon. Usually, the sweetness of watermelons range between 9 and 10 on this scale. However, the ones that are very sweet will range between 11 and 12.
Watermelon Facts: 16-20
16. There is something called seedless watermelon. Technically, they aren’t completely seedless. They do have seeds but the seeds are white and immature and soft. You won’t realize that you are chewing a seed.
17. It was some 50 years ago that seedless watermelons were first created.
18. Contrary to the popular belief, seedless watermelons are not genetically modified. They are simply hybrids.
19. The method used for making seedless watermelons is quite unique. It is created by crossing two different variants of watermelons.
20. One of the two variants has 22 chromosomes while the other variant has 44 chromosomes. When they are crossed, they produce sterile watermelons whose seeds are immature and white in color.
Watermelon Facts: 21-25
21. 92% of the total mass of a watermelon is nothing other than water. This is one of the reasons why early explorers used to carry watermelons instead of carrying canteens.
22. Watermelons can grow big. The biggest and the heaviest watermelon ever grown was 350.5 lbs. or 159 kg. The record was created in 2013 by USA’s Chris Kent who lived in Sevierville, Tennessee, USA.
23. Oklahoma in USA has named watermelon as the state vegetable. It became the state vegetable after a committee of 46 voted 44-2 in favor of considering it a vegetable back in 2007.
24. There is a variety of watermelon called the Bradford. It was created by Nathaniel Napoleon Bradford of South Carolina back in 1840s. It was unusually sweet but the skin was too soft for transportation, making it commercially nonviable.
25. So, the commercial production of the variety ended by 1920s and it almost died out but the Bradford family decided to keep the variety alive in their backyard for several generations. The great-great-great grandson – Nat Bradford has once again started producing it commercially.
Watermelon Facts: 26-30
26. There is something called ‘Watermelon Month’ in the US. It is the month of July and it is so called because it is this month when watermelon production in the country is the highest.
27. In China, it is a custom that the guests offer watermelons to the hostess as a gift.
28. Southern food historian – John Egerton believes that African slaves were the ones who introduced watermelon in the US.
29. Sprinkling some salt on watermelon pulls out the flavor and the juice of the fruit, and makes it even tastier.
30. Heard the name – Jason Schayot? He is famous for spitting watermelon seeds to the maximum distance. He holds a world record in that and back in 1995, he managed to spit out watermelon seed as far as 75 feet and 2 inches. That’s quite some distance.
Okay, end of fun facts! Now, let’s learn some health benefits of watermelons. Ready!
But before begin, let’s investigate the nutritional value that watermelon holds. Here is a quick chart:
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)|
|Total Fat||0.15 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.4 g||1%|
|— Folates||3 μg||1%|
|— Niacin||0.178 mg||1%|
|— Pantothenic Acid||0.221 mg||4.5%|
|— Pyridoxine||0.045 mg||3.5%|
|— Thiamin||0.033 mg||3%|
|— Vitamin A||569 IU||19%|
|— Vitamin C||8.1 mg||13.5%|
|— Vitamin E||0.05 mg||0.5%|
|— Sodium||1 mg||0%|
|— Potassium||112 mg||2.5%|
|— Calcium||7 mg||0.7%|
|— Copper||42 μg||4.5%|
|— Iron||0.24 mg||3%|
|— Magnesium||10 mg||2.5%|
|— Manganese||0.038 mg||1.5%|
|— Zinc||0.10 mg||1%|
|— Carotene-alpha||303 μg||—|
|— Crypto-xanthin-beta||78 μg||—|
|— Lutein-zeaxanthin||8 μg||—|
|— Lycopene||4532 μg||—|
Watermelon Facts: 31-35 (Health Benefits)
31. Reduction of Oxidative Damage:
Our body produces free radicals naturally as a part of biochemical processes taking place inside. These free radicals produce oxidative stress in our body, which in turn is responsible for membrane damage, DNA damage and protein damage.
Watermelon is rich is antioxidants that scavenge and kill free radicals for up to 90 minutes post consumption, thereby reducing oxidative damage the free radicals cause in our body. Some antioxidants in watermelon includes: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Carotene-alpha, Lutein-zeaxanthin, Lycopene etc.
32. Lowering Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension is one of the leading causes of strokes, heart attacks and several other diseases that are often fatal. Watermelon has been found to be very rich in citrulline – a type of amino acid.
This amino acid converts into arginine – another amino acid. Both these amino acids aid in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to be a vasodilator. This vasodilator helps in relaxing blood vessels by dilating them. Dilated blood vessels lower the blood pressure by allowing blood to flow freely.
33. Reduction of Insulin Resistance:
In Type II diabetes, the cells in our bodies become resistant to insulin. The only way to change this is to increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin.
In other words, it is necessary to reduce insulin resistance of cells. There are compounds in watermelon that are converted into L-arginine, which has been found to increase insulin sensitivity and improve glucose metabolism.
34. Reduction in Muscle Soreness:
Scientists have found that L-citrulline in watermelon helps muscles to relax, relieve soreness of muscles, and increase anaerobic performance. Scientists have also found in several studies that L-citrulline helps to fasten the removal of lactic acid from body, and hence, improve physical performance.
35. Prevention of Kidney Disorders:
This fruit has high amounts of calcium and potassium. Studies have confirmed that both these nutrients help in renal toxin removal (removal of toxins from kidneys).
Calcium is also known for reducing uric acid concentration in blood. It helps to maintain cell structure, regulate the functions of the cells and helps in cell differentiation process.
And, we should not forget that watermelon is high in water content and helps to increase the frequency of urination, thereby flushing toxins out of the kidneys.
Watermelon Facts: 36-40 (Health Benefits)
36. Deadly Enemy of Cancer:
Lycopene content of watermelon is extremely high. This nutrient helps in reducing insulin-like growth factor, and hence, prevalence of cancer is reduced.
On top of that Lycopene helps with cancer regression as it targets, and then interrupts growth of cancer cells, carcinogen metabolism and apoptosis.
37. Keeps Cardiovascular Diseases at Bay:
Say thanks to Lycopene once again. This nutrient has been found to reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, which is known for causing myriads of cardiovascular diseases.
38. Prevention of Macular Degeneration:
The high amounts of Vitamin A in watermelon prevents premature macular degeneration – a very unfortunate eye disease.
Overall, Vitamin A helps in maintaining eye health. In addition, the Lycopene present in the fruit prevents epithelial cells’ vacuolization in eye lens. This reduces risk of glaucoma and cataracts.
39. Prevents Erectile Dysfunction:
Erection in men is caused when cavernous veins in penis are relaxed. No! Erection is not caused by stimulation of cavernous veins as previously thought. Guess what?
It is nitric oxide that helps in the relaxation process. Now, nitric oxide is produced by NO-synthase or L-arginine. L-arginine is available readily in watermelons.
40. Prevents Asthma:
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is present in abundance in watermelon. It has been found (though not conclusively) that Vitamin C is responsible for protecting hyperactive airways in people who are affected by asthma. So, Vitamin C can prevent exercise-induced asthma. This makes watermelon a good candidate for asthma treatment as well.
Watermelon Facts: 41-45 (Health Benefits)
41. Prevention of Constipation:
Almost every one of us have faced this problem. Hard stool and difficulty in passing stool is a major gastrointestinal problem, and it sucks big time. Drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of fibrous food can help in prevention of constipation.
Watermelon fits the bill quite nicely. With 92% water content and high dietary fiber content, this tasty snack can help you replace a few glasses of daily recommended water intake and jelly-out the poop from your bottom.
42. Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:
Okay, that’s a mouthful of a name but simply put, it is a type of muscular degeneration (a severe one) that leads to chronic or long-term inflammation. This is caused by inflammatory signaling cascade.
In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, signaling of (NF) -kB levels are interrupted, leading to what is known as (NF) -kB cascade. Watermelon has L-arginine, which has been found to increase regeneration of muscles and decrease inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory signaling cascade.
It also inhibits (NF) -kB cascade and helps in promoting membrane integrity of muscles. We already know that L-arginine is abundant in watermelon and hence, we know what it can do.
43. Helps to Maintain Healthy Skin:
Girls will love this. Watermelon is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Their molecular weight is very low and can easily penetrate the skin and help in production of collagen. This protects skin from chronic UV ray damage (also known as photodamage) and prevents wrinkle protection and skin aging.
44. Promotes Hair Growth:
l-Ascorbic acid 2-phosphate – this is a derivative of Vitamin C. Scientists have found that treating hair follicles using this derivative helps in dermal papilla cells’ growth stimulation and hair shaft elongation. Do we need to say more? Eat watermelon folks!
45. Weight Loss:
It is not a myth. Scientific experiments have found that citrulline in watermelon is converted into arginine. Arginine in turn blocks TNAP or tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphate, thereby preventing excess fat accumulation in fat cells. It is a serious scientific thing to discuss, but bottom line – more watermelon = less fat.
Watermelon Facts: 46-50 (Health Benefits)
46. Improves Bone Health:
Calcium = bone health – we have heard this and watermelon has calcium. So, we barely need to talk about calcium. We however need to talk about Lycopene. Lycopene reduces oxidative stress because it is an antioxidant.
Free radicals are known for reducing osteoclast and osteoblast activities. Osteoclasts and Osteoblasts are categories of bone cells and are always related to osteoporosis when their activities are reduced.
The antioxidant property of Lycopene prevents this from happening. Additionally, Lycopene suppresses bone resorption and, in the process, inhibits bone loss. So, watermelons are? Yes! Good for health.
47. Support to Our Nerves:
Watermelon is rich in potassium. Now, potassium is known for regulating muscle tissue and nerve excitability. Both potassium and magnesium present in watermelon are known to be intracellular cations (pronounced as CAT-ions).
The concentration of these cations on both sides of extracellular and intracellular membranes increases resting membrane potential, thereby determining the frequency and degree of contraction and relaxation of muscles.
Again, the electrolyte content (potassium and sodium) of watermelon is high. Our nervous system needs these electrolytes, especially potassium for sending electrical impulses to our muscles, heart etc. So yes, watermelons help our nerves as well.
48. Helps to Reduce Inflammation:
We already discussed this in part in point number 2. We spoke of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is responsible for prompting inflammatory markers. But how about watermelon powder?
Scientists studied that in rats, dextran sodium sulfate treatment led to inflammation. However, when the rats were given watermelon powder, inflammation reduced over time.
So, scientists believe that watermelon may play a crucial role in inflammation management, which is responsible for several health issues like atherosclerosis and eventually, cardiovascular diseases.
49. Keeps Body Alkaline:
If you are thinking that alkaline diet is all about losing weight, you are so very wrong! Human body is designed to stay alkaline and a pH level of 7.4 is required for survival.
Acidic body conditions are not good and can lead to a wide range of health problems like kidney and bladder infections, sciatica, respiratory problems, immune deficiency, cardiovascular damage, increased oxidative stress, premature aging and more.
Eating alkaline food helps to reduce the risks of those health conditions. Scientists have found that watermelon, which is an alkaline food, can help in several ways (many of them already discussed) including reduction in chronic pain. It helps to reduce premature aging, and even prevents cardiovascular diseases, cancer etc.
50. Wound Healing:
Our wounds will heal properly and quickly if we consume Vitamin C or ascorbic acid in proper quantities.
What happens in case of wound? First, there is inflammatory stage where neutrophils get clustered in the wound area. Finally, they self-destruct (apoptosis).
For apoptosis, Vitamin C is required. During proliferative stage, synthesis, maturation and degradation of collagen is assisted by Vitamin C, which also helps in formation of scars.
After the injury, ascorbic acid’s plasma levels fall significantly, requiring a replenishment of the nutrient for continued and sped-up healing process. Now, watermelon has high quantities of Vitamin C and so, if you have an injury, consider eating it more.
Watermelon Facts: 51-55 (Health Benefits)
51. Slowing Down Cell Damage:
One of the primary reasons for natural cell damage are the free radicals (which are basically chemicals will single electrons, making them highly reactive). These free radicals hurt and damage our cells.
Our body can deal with this damage only to a limited extent. Extra nutrients and co-factors are required for destroying free radicals and slowing down cell damage.
Vitamin C is one such nutrient. There are many more like Lycopene, Vitamin A, Vitamin E etc. They are present in ample quantities in watermelons and hence, prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals by scavenging and destroying these free radicals.
52. Prevention of Heat Stroke:
Heat Stroke can lead to death and quite a few people die each year because of this. The key to prevention of heat stroke is staying properly hydrated and maintaining proper electrolyte balance.
Watermelon is 92% water and contains high quantities of electrolytes – sodium and potassium. Eating watermelon provides ample water, keeps our body hydrated.
Also, the more hydrated we stay, the more we will sweat, which is a mechanism used by our body to cool us down during hot days. So, eat watermelons more when you are working outside on a scorching day.
53. Improves Our Immunity:
Do you know what happens when you are ill or you are under stress or you get an infection? Leukocytes and Vitamin C content in our plasma drops rapidly, making us even more vulnerable. So, eating citrus fruits like oranges can help a lot.
However, oranges are usually winter fruits. For summers, that support comes from watermelons that are known for having a hearty amount of Vitamin C, which can supplement our immune system.
This Vitamin is known for improving the antimicrobial properties of our immune system and improves the efficacy of the natural killer cells we have in our bodies.
It also helps in increasing lymphocytes that become active when we contract illness. So, if you want to improve your immune system, eating watermelon is a good idea.
54. Prevention of Periodontitis:
Heard of it? It is a gum disease in which, the disease slowly progresses and infects tissues that support teeth. Over time, inflammation results in pocket formation in gums, gingival bleeding and teeth loss.
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to increased risk of this disease, but its deficiency doesn’t directly cause the disease. Proper amounts of Vitamin C help in collagen formation, which is required when infectious diseases set in. So, eating watermelon can be a nice way to provide ample amounts of Vitamin C to our body.
55. Scurvy Prevention:
This disease is caused by Vitamin C deficiency. The primary function of Vitamin C in our body is none other than absorption of iron from our intestinal tract. Our body is not capable of synthesizing Vitamin C on its own, and hence, external source is always required.
When scurvy sets in, what really happens is that our body lacks iron, because it cannot be absorbed abundantly due to the lack of Vitamin C. Scurvy leads to problems like lethargy, fatigue and even anemia.
In the long run, the disease leads to edema, neuropathy, jaundice, and in worst cases, death. So, getting ample amounts of Vitamin C is very necessary for prevention of scurvy. Watermelon is a good source!