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The Many Health Benefits of Watermelon E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar   

Watermelon is not only a great summer time treat, but a great source of many health benefits. It's being touted as so healthful it should be stored in your medicine chest. 

  • Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins. One 2-cup serving of diced watermelon contains loads of vitamins A and C.
  • Watermelon is also a very concentrated source of the carotenoid lycopene. Recent research shows watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, even tomatoes. Lycopene is well known for its ability to lower the risk of many different kinds of cancers, especially prostate cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer. Data are also suggestive of a benefit for  colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, breast cancercervical cancer and pancreatic cancer
  • Lycopene may also aid in the prevention of heart disease.
  • Watermelon is also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1, potassium and magnesium.
  • Watermelon has no cholesterol and virtually no fat (almost none of which is saturated).
  • A whole cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories.
  • A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the RDA for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the RDA for vitamin A.

The Antioxidant Effect 

Antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals.

Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage.

Free radicals  are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Free radicals can add to the severity of osteoarthritis attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close.

Free radicals can increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis  and cause most of the joint damage that occurs in these conditions, and they can damage cells lining the colon, turning them into cancer cells.

Fortunately, antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damage they would otherwise cause.

High intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown in a number of scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart disease , reduce the airway spasm that occurs in osteoarthritis, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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