Watermelon – nutrition, proven benefits and recipes

The scientific name of the water melon is Citrullus lanatus. It is also known as Tarbooz (in Hindi and Urdu), Tarbuj (in Manipuri), Kadu vrindavana (in Marathi), Eriputccha (in Telegu), Kallangadi balli (in Kannada), Tormuj (in Bengali), and Indrak (in Gujarati).

Other names include:

AFRIKAANS: Waatlemoen.
ARABIC : Battikh (baṭṭīḫ), Battikh ahmar (red-fleshed), Bateekh, Betteakh (Egypt).
BENGALI : Taramuj, Tormuj.
CATALAN : Sindriera.
CHINESE : Shi yong xi gua, Choei koa, Ts’ing teng koa, Han koa, Hia koa.
CROATIAN : Lubenica.
CZECH : Cukrový meloun, Lubenice meloun, Lubenice obecná, Meloun vodní, Vodní meloun.
DANISH : Vandmelon.
DUTCH : Watermeloen.
ESTONIAN : Arbuus, Vesimelon.
FRENCH : Melon d’eau, Pastèque.
GERMAN: Wassemelone, Wassermelone , Gewöhnliche Wassermelone, Wasserzitrulle.
GREEK : Kαρπούζι Karpusi, Karpouzia (Cyprus).
HEBREW : Avatiach, Avatiach pashut.
ITALIAN : Anguria, Cocomero (Tuscany), Melone d’acqua, Pastecca.
KOREAN : Su bak (Soo bahk).
LAOTIAN : Môô, Tèèng môô.
NEPALESE : Tarabuujaa (Tarbuja).
PORTUGUESE: Melancia, Melância.
SPANISH : Sandía, Melón de agua.
SWAHILI : Mtango, Mtikiti.
TAMIL : Palam, Vattākku.
THAI : Taeng chin, Taeng moh, Matao.
VIETNAMESE : Dưa hấu, Dưa hấu ruột đỏ.

It is spreading, hairy, tendril-bearing annual vine reaching a length of several meters. Fruit is very large, smooth, ellipsoid to oblong, light green with irregular dark green-mottled stripes, sometimes covered with a white, waxy bloom, about 30 centimeters long. The flesh is white, yellowish, pink or red; crisp, soft and juicy. Seeds are compressed, sometimes red, usually black.

Fruit has a sweet, crisp, juicy and hydrating flavor. Its texture is mildly granular, but its roughly 90 percent water content makes for an overwhelmingly juicy fruit.

Watermelon seeds are crunchy, peppery and wholly edible. In fact, seeds contain excellent health benefits as it is rich in iron, potassium and other essential nutrients.

Water melon nutrition value and facts

  • Fruit extract has carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, steroids, glycosides, flavonoids, tannins and polyphenols.
  • The skin contains a fixed oil, arachidic acid, and traces of copper.
  • The seeds contain oil, 15 to 45%, made up of glycerides of linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic and stearic acids.
  • The oil contains a small amount of phytosterol.
  • All parts of the watermelon – rind, flesh, and seeds – contain citrulline, a non-essential amino acid, which converts to L-arginine when eaten.
  • Seeds are a rich source of enzyme urease.


A 100 gm of water melon has about 30 calories. It contain

7.5g Carbohydrates (3% RDI)

.4g Fiber (2% RDI)

.2g Fat (negligible)

.6g Protein

569IU Vitamin A* (11% RDI)

8.1mg Vitamin C (13% RDI)

Thiamin (2% RDI)

Vitamin B6 (2% RDI)

Pantothenic Acid (2% RDI)

10mg Magnesium (2% RDI)

112mg Potassium (3% RDI)

Copper (2% RDI)

Mangenese (2% RDI)

Pink-fleshed watermelon contains significantly higher levels of beta-carotene than yellow-flesh varieties.

How to check Ripeness of Watermelon

To check the watermelon is ripe, follow practical “thud” test: raisethe fruit to your ear, and give a vigorous tap. The best of watermelons have a thudding, hollow sound to indicate juicy, dense flesh. Always pair the “thud” tap with its heaviness—the best watermelons should feel heavy for their size. Heavy fruits signal water-rich flesh as opposed to unappealing stringy, desiccated innards.

Try  “stem test too.” Find the small circle near the end of the fruit where it’s been snipped from the vine. If it’s brownish in color, it’s ripe. If it’s green, consider passing on the fruit.

Ripe watermelons vary in exterior colors, but all should have a lustrous sheen. The fruit should be firm with no obvious, large indentations. A few scratches are acceptable, but bruises and pock marks are not.

Check the bottom of the fruit: Most watermelons have a discolored “ground spot,” which indicates where it rested in the soil before picking. The best fruits have a creamy yellow color—if it’s white, the fruit may have been cut prematurely from the vine.

Traditional medicinal benefits and uses of watermelon

  • Seeds considered cooling, demulcent, diuretic, vermifuge, nutritive, pectoral and pectic.
  • The crude extract of seeds believed to have a lowering blood pressure effect.
  • Seeds are oily; sometimes used as substitute for peanuts.
  • African cuisine used the entire fruit: Seeds are eaten as snacks, added to dishes, ground in flour; rind can be stir-fried, stewed, candied, pickled, or grilled; flesh eaten or juiced or fermented into alcohol.
  • The juice of the roots used for hemorrhage after abortion.
  • Juice of fruit use as antiseptic in typhus fever.
  • With cumin and sugar, juice is used as a cooling drink in strangury and affections of the urinary organs, such as gonorrhea; also used for hepatic congestion and intestinal catarrh.
  • In China, rind of the fruit is powdered after drying and incineration and used for aphthous mouth sores.
  • Pulp is used as a drastic purgative.
  • In Tonkin, pericarp used for diarrhea.
  • Seeds used to alleviate symptoms of acute cystitis.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, used to relieve scanty urination, excessive thirst, for treating icteric hepatitis and urinary tract infections.
  • Used in Chinese herbal medicine for erectile dysfunction, acne, diabetes, nephritic edema.
  • According to the book, “The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs,” Yogi Bhajan recommended going on a 3-day watermelon fast to clear kidney deposits, cleanse the gallbladder, and to give the aortal and digestive system a boost. Watermelons act as a coolant, thirst-quencher, detoxifier, diuretic, febrifuge, and, according to some natural healers, an aphrodisiac.

Scientific proven health benefits of watermelon

According to a study,  the extracts of watermelon fruit peel has found useful in hypothyroidism. As it has thyroid stimulatory and antiperoxidase roles.

A study has shown that the leaf extracts of water melon has mosquito or insect repellent properties. It has insect growth regulatory activity which can be effective against malarial vector,and other insects.

A study states that watermelon is a natural and rich source of the non-essential amino acid citrulline. It is used in the nitric oxide system, with potential antioxidant and vasodilatory effects. Red flesh watermelons had slightly less citruline than yellow or orange flesh watermelons. Rind contains more citrulline than flesh.

Study showed watermelon fruit supplementation improves aortic blood pressure through a decrease in the amplitude of the reflected wave in individuals with prehypertension. Supplementation was well tolerated by all subjects, with no adverse effects reported.

Another study showed the leaves extract of watermelon has antimicrobial effects, which were very effective against bacteria and some fungal strains than other species including maximum inhibition against E. coli and Candida albicans.

A study indicate that watermelon seed extract may be of supportive treatment to combat diabetes complications and has anti-diabetic effect.

Another study has proved that watermelon seeds has anti-obesity and anti-arthritic properties. The water melon seeds extracts exhibited significant anti-obesity activity with reduction of glucose, cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides, with increase in HDL. Also, significant anti-arthritic activity .

In another study, the watermelon seeds extract showed a significant increase in sperm population, motility and viability. It promote male fertility and using in infertile patients has beneficial effects.

A study has shown that watermelon seeds are helpful in Prostatic Hyperplasia and prostate health. The treatment with watermelon seeds extracts caused a significant decrease in prostate enlargement, seminal vesicle and testes size, together with a decrease in prostate weight.

Another study has proved that watermelon seeds helps to significantly increase testosterone.

According to a study, watermelon used as a safe radioprotection agent. Radioprotection could be due to the presence of antioxidants, particularly vitamin A, C, and lycopene.

A study has found that the peels of watermelon has analgesic activity. It can be effectively used in pain management without any adverse effects.

In a study, the consumption of watermelon juice increased plasma concentrationsof lycopene, a substance known to fight cancers, prevent macular degeneration and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another study has shown that seeds of the watermelon can solved the problem of diarrhea that caused by Giardia intestinalis.

In another study, the consumption of watermelon led to reduced body weight gain, decreased plasma cholesterol concentrations, improved homeostasis of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (helpful in managing inflammation), and attenuated development of atherosclerosis without affecting systolic blood pressure.

In a study, eating watermelon has anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan induced edema and helps to protect the liver.

Storage tips:

Whole watermelons kept in a warm summer kitchen can last up to a week.

Refrigerated watermelons can last  up to two to three weeks at temperatures no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit—any lower, and the shelf life reduces dramatically.

Place plastic wrap over refrigerated cut melon halves: This will keep the watermelon from drying out and prolong its shelf life.

For optimal nutrient content, keep watermelons out of the refrigerator—according to a study , watermelons kept at room temperature had 40 percent higher lycopene levels and nearly 140 percent higher beta-carotene levels.

Watermelon Recipe Ideas and Uses:

Make hydrating watermelon juice by simply blending and straining the fruit. Try other variants with cucumber, grape, strawberry, ginger, lemon, mint, and pomegranate.

Make gazpacho by blending the pulp with cucumber, bell pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, and avocado or olive oil.

Make simple watermelon fruit salad by combining cubed fruits with cucumber, pomegranate seeds, mint, and sprinkled with lemon juice.

Use skinned watermelon as the basis of a watermelon cake: use large cubes as the cake base, and adorn with kiwi slices, strawberries and melon skewers.

Make “watermelon pizza” by using the large ring as the “crust.” Use jam as the “sauce” and top with shredded coconut “cheese.”

Create watermelon popsicles by pureeing the juice and freezing. Add chunks of fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwi if desired.

Add chopped watermelon to salsa recipes, gently folding in the fruit at the end of the salsa preparation.

Combine watermelon juice with white wine to make a nice spritzer. Or, soak watermelon balls in vodka for an hour and serve chilled. Use mint (or even basil) to garnish.

Use watermelon spears in sandwiches: like cucumber, they add a burst of juiciness and a pinch of sweetness. Combine with tomato, mint, dark leafy greens, a hummus or pesto spread, and mock cheese.

Use the hollowed out shell of a large watermelon half to hold fruit punch.

Read about other interesting fruits

Acai berry        Ambarella         Avocado           Bael          Bilberry           Fig              

Kiwi            Mangosteen     Miracle fruit        Plum          Quince

Rambutan     Santol            Sapota            Sour Orange    Sweet Lime   

  Star gooseberry    Star Apple      Strawberry           Wood apple