Watermelon is a great summer fruit, but it also has some powerful health benefits that you may not know about. The key nutrient in this tasty melon is lycopene, a carotenoid found in red fruits and vegetables, which is essential for eye health. Research has shown that a deficiency in lycopene is associated with macular degeneration. As such, it is important to maintain a diet rich in lycopene and other nutrients essential to preventing disease.
You’ve probably seen lycopene touted on bottles of tomato ketchup. It’s true that tomatoes are one source of lycopene, but ketchup is a processed version of the fruit with many other sugars and ingredients added. It is better to add fresh, raw tomatoes to your diet. Watermelon contains an even higher concentration of lycopene: one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times more lycopene (6 mg) than one tomato (which contains 4 mg).
Contrary to popular belief, both the rind and black seeds of watermelon are edible and beneficial in addition to the pink flesh (organic is recommended). Wash and eat watermelon fresh, or try juicing it. Just remember that melons are best eaten alone from other foods: enjoy this eye-healthy fruit with 30 minutes before and after eating anything else.