A Guide to the Types and Benefits of Watermelon

The watermelon, known by its scientific name Citrulluslanatus, is a sweet and juicy fruit that originally belongs to Southern Africa. Its cousins are zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, and cantaloupe. This fruit is packed with water and nutrients that are essentially required by our body. Despite being so sweet, it contains very few calories and is exceptionally refreshing.

No summer picnics are complete without watermelons because one of the best and tastiest ways to remain cool in burning hot summer days is to munch on ice-cold watermelon. However, there is a lot more to this fruit than its sweet, red center. Let’s discuss it in detail.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: half cup

  • 26 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 1g fiber
  • 6g carbs
  • 1g protein
  • 6mcg folate
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 4g sugars
  • 0g added sugars
  • 505 IU vitamin A
  • 35 mg vitamin C
  • 9 mg calcium
  • 0mg iron
  • 75mg sodium
  • 122 mg potassium

History of Watermelon

The first watermelons are said to be cultivated in South Africa, about five millenniums ago. This fruit was cultivated during 2000 BC in ancient Egypt and eventually became an everyday food there. We can say this for sure because there are proofs in the form of hieroglyphs on the buildings that tell us that the ancient Egyptians used to cultivate watermelons.

Watermelon is such an old fruit that even the Bible has mentioned it being consumed as a staple food by the Israelites.

From South Africa, watermelon made its way into Europe, where it was grown during the 7th century. Later, it traveled all the way to China during the 10th century. Interestingly, China is the largest producer of watermelons in the world today.

There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelons around the globe that is spread in 96 countries. We won’t be able to cover all of them in this guide, but we have tried to put together the popular ones. So, without any further ado, let’s talk about them.

Types/Varieties of Watermelon

Every variety of watermelon can vary in shape, size, and color. We are only familiar with the vivid reddish-pink ones with green skin, but there are also yellow-orange, white, pink, and several other types to talk about.

Following are the most common varieties of watermelons:

  1. Icebox Watermelons

These watermelons are given this name because of their size that ranges from 5 to 15 pounds. Their size allows them to fit in the refrigerator easily than the larger ones. They are supposed to feed a single person or a small family. Further, icebox watermelons come in various varieties, including Sugar Baby and the Tiger Baby.

When the Tiger Baby matures, it turns into gold color; the Sugar Baby, red flesh and dark green rind.

  1. Picnic Watermelons

As the name suggests, this type of watermelon is an ideal choice for picnics. They are larger than the icebox ones, ranging from 15 to 50 pounds on average. However, they can grow much bigger than this range. In 1991, one watermelon weighing 279 pounds won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was large enough to feed a large group of people.

This is the type of watermelon that we are familiar with. It round or oval-shaped has a bright green rind and deep red flesh. Picnic watermelons further have various varieties, including Black Diamond, Jubilee, Crimson, Allsweet, Charleston Gray, and more.

  1. Seedless Watermelons

Seedless varieties are not truly seedless as they contain very tiny, white, edible seeds that are lesser in amount compared to seeded varieties. They were developed in the 1990s with the idea that most people don’t like to eat watermelon because of too many seeds inside. Seedless watermelons can normally weigh between 10 to 20 pounds and offer the same sweetness as the seeded variety.

When shopping for seedless watermelons, you may come across the following names: Nova, Queen of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, Millionaire, Trio, Crimson, and King of Hearts.

  1. Seeded Watermelons

These are the traditional watermelons that are round/oblong, and they can weigh anywhere between 10 to 45 pounds on average. Unlike their seedless counterparts, seeded ones contain noticeable black seeds in large quantities.

  1. Yellow-Orange Watermelons

These are round or oblong varieties that have yellow or orange flesh. They are available in both seedless and seeded varieties. Some popular seedless varieties are Honeyheart and Chiffon, and seeded ones are Yellow Baby, Yellow Doll, Tendergold, and Desert King.

Following are some more varieties of watermelons:

Amarillo Watermelons

  • Variety: Seedless
  • Shape: Round
  • Flesh Type: Bright and crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Bright yellow flesh with green rind and dark green stripes

Bijou Watermelons

  • Variety: Seedless
  • Shape: Round
  • Flesh Type: Firm and Crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Red flesh with green rind and dark green stripes

Black Diamond Watermelons

  • Variety: Seeded (has grey seeds)
  • Shape: Oblong
  • Flesh Type: Crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Bright red flesh with a green rind

Calsweet (Bush) Watermelons

  • Variety: Seeded
  • Shape: Round or oval
  • Flesh Type: Crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Red flesh with dark and light green striped rind

Captivation Watermelons

  • Variety: Seedless
  • Shape: Oblong and uniform
  • Flesh Type: Firm
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Bright red flesh with a deep green rind

Charleston Grey Watermelons

  • Variety: Seeded
  • Shape: Oblong
  • Flesh Type: Fiber-less
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Red flesh with green or grey colored stripes

Harvest Moon Watermelons

  • Variety: Seedless Hybrid
  • Shape: Round
  • Flesh Type: Crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Pink flesh with dark green rind and some yellow dotting

Moon and Stars (Red) Watermelon

  • Variety: Seeded
  • Shape: Round and Blocky
  • Flesh Type: Bright and crispy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Red flesh with dark green rind and yellow dotting

Sangria Watermelons

  • Variety: Seeded
  • Shape: Oblong
  • Flesh Type: Sweet and Juicy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Red flesh with green rind and light green stripes

Yellow Doll/Baby Watermelon

  • Variety: Seeded
  • Shape: Round and uniform
  • Flesh Type: Juicy
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Color: Bright yellow flesh with light green stripes on the rind

Benefits of Watermelon

  • Helps Prevent Asthma

According to research, free radicals are the reason that develops asthma. But the presence of certain antioxidants in the lungs, such as vitamin C, may reduce the risk of having asthma. Although studies haven’t confirmed it that taking vitamin C supplements can help prevent asthma, taking a diet rich in vitamin C can surely offer some protection.

A cup of watermelon weighing about 150 grams can provide 12.5 milligrams of vitamin C, which contributes between 14% and 16% of a person’s daily needs.

  • Promotes Hair Growth

Arginine is an amino acid that is required by our body to help with blood circulation in the scalp. Watermelons are a rich source of citrulline that boosts the level of arginine and is therefore great for promoting hair growth.

  • Keeps You Hydrated

This sweet and juicy fruit contains 92% water, which makes it an excellent option to curb you from dehydration without adding any extra calories in your weight loss diet. Staying hydrated is vital for your body to work properly and prevent you from mouth dryness. You need to keep yourself hydrated, especially in summers, when it is terribly hot outside.

You can start by one cup of watermelon, which is a good enough amount for your body to get most of the essential nutrients from the fruit.

  • Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

According to a 2012 study, watermelon extract helped in reducing blood pressure in and around the ankles of middle-aged people who were obese and the patients of hypertension. The researchers suggested that two antioxidants (L-citrulline and L-arginine) present in watermelons may improve the function of arteries.

Another antioxidant in watermelon, Lycopene, may help prevent different heart diseases. A 2017 review suggested that Lycopene might do this by decreasing inflammation linked with HDL.

  • Help Prevent Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, it is free radicals that play a role in the development of various types of cancers. The oxidative stress the free radicals cause can result in DNA cell damage. The richness of vitamin C in watermelon may help prevent cancer by fighting free radicals in our bodies.

Some studies have also linked the intake of lycopene with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

  • Reduces Muscle Soreness

If you are an athlete or gym lover, you should eat watermelon or drink its juice to improve your recovery time after an intensive workout.

In a 2017 study, two groups of athletes were put under test. Athletes who drank watermelon juice (with added L-citrulline) 2 hours before the marathon race reported less muscle soreness 24 to 72 hours after the race, compared to those who drank a placebo.

  • Reduces Dental Problems

Eating one cup of watermelon a day can prevent you from a periodontal disease, which is common in about 25% of the world’s population. This disease is characterized by tooth loss, infection, and is linked with other heart diseases.

The major substance in watermelon that reduces dental problem is vitamin C.

However, it is unclear if watermelon juice without added L-citrulline would have the same effect or not.

  • Prevents Diabetes

Watermelons help our kidneys to convert L-citrulline (amino acid) into L-arginine (amino acid). These two amino acids tend to protect you from diabetes. In medical terms, the amino acid L-arginine supplement that watermelon contains is crucial for regulating glucose metabolism and insulin in our body.

  • Fights Inflammation

Inflammation is the major cause of many severe diseases, which include fibromyalgia, heart disease, and cancer. One of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation is by simply adding watermelon or watermelon juice to your diet.

  • Aids in Weight Loss

If you are looking for an organic and natural way to lose weight, then don’t forget to add watermelon in your weight loss diet. Since this sweet and juicy fruit consists of mostly water, it satiates you quickly without adding any extra calories.

  • Prevents Heat Strokes

Heatstroke is a risk for many people in the US. However, this condition can be fatal such that it is marked by fever. Watermelon consists mostly of water and contains electrolytes that can prevent heat strokes. All you need to do is drink some watermelon juice, which will help keep your body cool and regulate its temperature.

Interesting Facts about Watermelon

  • Watermelon is closely related to pumpkins and cucumbers.
  • Watermelons have been growing in the shape of a box in Japan for the past 40 years.
  • Watermelon is the most consumed fruit in the United States.
  • Some varieties of watermelon require 130 hot days in order to ripen.
  • Watermelons were placed under the burial tomb as a sign of nourishment for the tomb in ancient Egypt.
  • Watermelons are both a vegetable and a fruit.
  • The whole watermelon is edible. Its rinds are dried and roasted in the Middle East and China to make a light and easy snack.
  • The seedless watermelons are not genetically engineered but are a result of hybridization.
  • Watermelons are the official state vegetable of Oklahoma.

Final Words

Watermelons are the best when grown during summer. You can consume only one glass of watermelon juice of one cup of watermelon each day to gain all its health benefits that we have listed above. From cutting down on the weight to killing the heatwave in hot summers, you need to add this to your diet and reap its amazing benefits. Stay healthy!