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10 Health Benefits Of Watermelon That Make It The Perfect Summer Fruit

10 Health Benefits Of Watermelon That Make It The Perfect Summer Fruit

Few things instantly evoke such powerful memories of summer and can put an smile on your face quite as quick as the thought of capping off a backyard barbecue with a big tray of freshly sliced, ripe and juicy watermelon. I mean, seriously, just think about it for a moment… you can almost taste it, can’t you? It’s pretty safe to say that most people love this flavorful fruit, but few realize that watermelons are actually jam-packed with tons of health benefits, making them a truly perfect summertime snack.

eating-watermelon

    1. Good for your Heart

    Watermelons owe their gorgeous red color to the powerful antioxidant lycopene, just like tomatoes. In recent years, lycopene has being recognized by the scientific community as an especially important nutrient for cardiovascular health. The consumption of lycopene-rich foods, like watermelon, have been connected to an improvement in blood flow by acting as a vasodilator and have shown some ability to potentially lower LDL, aka bad cholesterol, making lycopene doubly good for your heart.

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    2. Good for your Bones

    Another benefit of lycopene-rich foods is that they improve bone health by reducing oxidative stress, which can lead to bone problems, among other health issues. Recent studies have shown that lycopene may provide an alternative natural treatment for the prevention and management of osteoporosis, especially in post-menopausal women.

    3. Improves Athletic Performance

    Watermelon is also a great source of citrulline, a nonessential alpha-amino acid that has been shown to enhance the utilization of essential amino acids during exercise and increase blood flow. Consider including watermelon in your pre and post workout routines as it can reduce recovery time after exercise and help further increase growth hormone levels after resistance training.

    4. Reduces Body Fat

    Your body naturally converts the citrulline found in watermelon into arginine in the kidneys. There is some preliminary evidence from animal studies that shows that the conversion of citrulline into arginine may help prevent excess accumulation of fat in fat cells, which is always a good thing.

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    5. Keeps you Hydrated

    As its name would suggest, watermelon is full of water… shocking! But in addition to that water, this fruit is also a good source of electrolytes which help you to stay hydrated and replace the minerals that are lost when you sweat.

    6. A Natural Diuretic

    Watermelon is a natural diuretic which helps increase the flow of urine, but does not put undue strain on your body, unlike coffee or alcohol. Regular consumption of watermelon helps to ease strain on the kidneys while your body eliminates excess fluids.

    7. Reduces Inflammation

    Watermelons contain several phenolic compounds that are beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body and have been proposed as an alternative natural approach to prevent or treat chronic inflammatory diseases.

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    8. Reduces Brain Fog

    Watermelon is a good source of potassium, which is absolutely essential for our bodies to function properly. Among other things, low potassium levels can lead to mental fogginess and confusion because, without adequate levels of this extremely important mineral, the electrical signals that drive the brain are interrupted.

    9. Improves Immunity

    Watermelon is also a delicious way to get your daily dose of vitamin C, with one serving containing about 16% of your day’s requirement. Vitamin C is regarded as one of the safest and most effective nutrients around and has been shown to improve immunity and overall health.

    10. It Gets Better as It Ripens

    As the flesh of a watermelon ripens and turns from white to pink to red, it doesn’t just get more sweet and delicious but also more nutritious as the density of its antioxidants gradually increases, so be sure to wait until your watermelon is fully ripe before you enjoy your perfect anytime treat.

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    Tell us your favorite ways to enjoy a delicious and healthy watermelon in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Watermelon / Harsha K R via flic.kr

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2019

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

    What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

    1. Take the scenic route.

    Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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    Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

    2. Distract yourself.

    No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

    3. Listen to music or podcasts.

    There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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    4. Bring a friend.

    Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

    Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

    5. Accessorize.

    There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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    For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

    6. Compete.

    A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

    7. Relax.

    The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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    With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

    Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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