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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.

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    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 May 22, 2019

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

    1. Cat Camel Stretch

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

    3. Jumping Jacks

    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

    4. Abductor Side Lifts

    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

    5. Balancing Table Pose

    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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      6. Leg Squats

      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

      7. Push Ups

      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

      8. Bicycle Crunches

      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

      9. Lunges

      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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      10. Bicep Curls

      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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