Calories in Watermelon and Their Health Benefits
Watermelons are a refreshing, juicy, sweet tasting fruit that is low in calories and rich in water (92 percent). Native to tropical Africa, watermelons are now grown commercially in Texas and several southern states, where the weather is warm and conducive to a long growing season.
They are a very large fruit, running up to 30 pounds at times and can be round or oval-shaped with a thick rind. The skin ranges from solid green, green striped or mottled with white.
The flesh, mostly pinkish-red is crisp with small, hard, black seeds throughout. Seedless hybrids are available. And golden fleshed watermelons are becoming more popular.
|Watermelon Nutrition Facts|
|Serving Size 1 cup, balls (154 g)|
|Per Serving||% Daily Value*|
|Calories from Fat 2|
|Total Fat 0.2g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0.1g||1%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g|
|Dietary Fiber 0.6g||2%|
|Vitamin A 18% · Vitamin C 21%|
|Calcium 1% · Iron 2%|
Watermelon is low in calories (only 46 in one cup) and rich in water content, making it a very hydrating food choice. Watermelons are moderately high in sugar, therefore its best to best to measure carefully, especially if you are counting carbohydrates. Watermelons are also rich in vitamin A, C and fiber. Depending on how you slice it, watermelon contains:
- 1 cup diced watermelon: 46 calories, 0.6 grams fiber, 11.6 grams carbohydrates
- 1 cup watermelon balls: 46 calories, 0.6 grams fiber, 11.6 grams carbohydrates
- 1 wedge of watermelon (1/16 of a watermelon): 86 calories, 1.1 grams fiber, 22 grams carbohydrates
Health Benefits of Watermelons
Watermelon is a very good source of vitamin C and vitamin A.
Vitamin C can aid in wound healing and has anti-aging and immune boosting properties, whereas vitamin A is important for eye health. Watermelon also has antioxidant power, as it an excellent source of lycopene, a phytonutrient which research has shown to be helpful in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Common Questions About Watermelon
What are the “white seeds” in a seedless watermelon? The white seeds in a seedless watermelon are actually empty seed coats that did not fully mature. They are perfectly safe to eat.
Can you eat the rind and seeds of a watermelon? According to watermelon.org, the whole watermelon is edible. You can eat the black seeds as well as the rind. Rinds can be stir-fried, stewed, or pickled.
Picking and Storing Watermelon
A fully ripe red watermelon contains higher levels of nutrients than less-ripe pink watermelon so shoot for a fully ripe one.
Aim to purchase fruit that looks and feels ripe. A ripe watermelon is one that feels heavy, it should be “heavy for its size.” The heavier the watermelon, the better. It should feel dense, which means it will be very juicy. The outside should be firm and free of nicks or dents. Look for the so-called “ground spot” where the melon was resting on the ground and therefore didn’t get light.
In a melon that is fully ripe, this spot will be a creamy yellow color, as opposed to white.
Fresh, uncut watermelon can be stored at room temperature, but it is better to store it in the refrigerator because heat causes the juicy flesh to dry out. Uncut watermelon can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
Once cut, wrap the cut side in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for about 2 days. The plastic protects the watermelon from absorbing the flavors of other foods and will keep it moist.
If you have extra watermelon, freeze it. Cut it into cubes and store it in an airtight container.
Healthy Ways to Prepare Watermelon
Most commonly eaten on its own as a refreshing snack, watermelons are an extremely hydrating fruit that can be a versatile ingredient in any meal plan. Watermelon is a great addition to smoothies, salsa, and salads. Their subtle sweetness also pairs well with cheese, nuts and other protein sources. Freeze watermelon for a tasty dessert or place watermelon chunks into water or seltzer for a tasty, low-calorie beverage.