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Celebrate National Watermelon Day With These Five Fun Nutritional Facts

August 3 is National Watermelon Day in the U.S. Watermelons have long been synonymous with the summer and are the quintessential hot weather snack. Over the course of the last century, they have emerged as a cultural touchstone and their popularity shows no sign of waning. They are the most consumed melon in the U.S. (followed by cantaloupe and honeydew).  

 International Business Times was just one of many news outlets to examine this fascinating and healthy fruit. Their interest in this subject is understandable. Not only does a bright slice of watermelon epitomize summer recreation for many, but their harvest season peaks this time of year.

Watermelons are much more than just a delightful summer treat. This outsized melon packs some serious health benefits within its sturdy rind. Below are five watermelon facts that may surprise you.

 

5 Watermelon Facts That Might Surprise You

 

1. Watermelons Have More Lycopene Than Raw Tomatoes

Lycopene is a powerful carotenoid antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables a pink or red color. It is most often associated with tomatoes, but watermelons are the more concentrated source.

Compared to a large fresh tomato, 1 cup of watermelon has 1.5 times the lycopene (6 milligrams (mg) in watermelon compared to 4 mg in a tomato). 

 2.Watermelon Juice May Relieve Muscle Soreness

If you have a juicer, try juicing about one-third of a fresh watermelon and drinking its juice prior to your next workout. This contains a little over 1 gram of l-citrulline, an amino acid that seems to protect against muscle pain. One study found that men who drank natural unpasteurized watermelon juice prior to their workouts had reduced muscle soreness 24 hours later compared to those who drank a placebo.

You do need to be careful with drinking watermelon juice, though, as it contains a significant amount of fructose. It may be better to eat the entire fruit, or opt for these other tips to prevent muscle soreness.

3.You Can Eat Watermelon Rind and Seeds

Most people throw away the watermelon rind, but try putting it in a blender with some lime for a healthy, refreshing treat. Not only does the rind contain plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll, but the rind actually contains more of the amino acid citrulline than the pink flesh.

Citrulline is converted to arginine in your kidneys, and not only is this amino acid important for heart health and maintaining your immune system, but it has been researched to have potential therapeutic value in over 100 health conditions.

While many people prefer seedless watermelon varieties, black watermelon seeds are edible and quite healthy. They contain iron, zinc, protein and fiber. (In case you were wondering, seedless watermelons aren't genetically modified, as they're the result of hybridization.)

4.Watermelons Are Mostly Water

This might not be surprising, but it's still a fun fact: Watermelons are more than 91 percent water. They are a tasty way to avoid dehydration (it's not a substitute for drinking plenty of fresh water, however).

5.Some Watermelons Are Yellow

The Yellow Crimson watermelon has yellow flesh with a sweeter, honey flavor than the more popular pink-fleshed Crimson Sweet. It's likely that yellow watermelon offers its own unique set of nutritional benefits, but most research to date has focused on the pink-fleshed varieties.

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