By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Did you know….Watermelons are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, and that here are five common types of watermelon: seeded, seedless, mini, orange and yellow. However, what you really want to know, is how they are good for fertility right?
Well, vitamins C, A, B (some), magnesium, and potassium are abundant in watermelon. It also contains a lot of carotenoids, such as lycopene and beta carotene, which are both good for fertility. Glutathione is also found in watermelon (linked to help improve egg quality in certain studies).
Lycopene -a fertility-friendly red pigment
In relation to fertility, there have also been some studies into the beneficial effects of lycopene on male fertility. Research has been carried out to examine the effect of the antioxidants in lycopene in helping to protect developing sperm from free radical damage and possible DNA damage.
‘Our work shows that a diet rich in lycopene can promote fertility in men struggling with infertility. In part we can conclude that men who have poor quality sperm can benefit from lycopene, and should consider a balanced diet as part of their strategy to reproduce, especially a diet including tomatoes’ said Dr. Narmada Gupta, Head of the Urology Department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. Further studies have now found that antioxidants can elevate sperm count, morphology, motility and concentration.
In women, recent research has indicated that lycopene may be useful in reducing the abnormal activity of cells and as a result may reduce the adhesion effects of endometriosis. Dr Tarek Dbouk, from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, said ‘What we found in our laboratory study is that lycopene can help with the adhesions that these conditions cause. One of the major complications of endometriosis is that it causes inflammation which induces adhesions. The inflammation basically causes scarring. What we did was to look at protein markers that could help us trace the activity of the abnormal cells that cause these adhesions. The lycopene worked to reduce the abnormal activity of these cells. So, hypothetically speaking, we might be able to reduce the adhesion effects of endometriosis.’ Dr Dbouk also added that ‘It is certainly possible that you could get the amount you need from your diet.’ More research was to be conducted into the amount of lycopene required.
Other health benefits of eating watermelon
Hydration: As watermelon contains 92% water along with electrolytes, it can help prevent dehydration.
Healthy digestive tract: watermelon contains fibre and water which help to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Inflammation: watermelon contains choline, which has a variety of important roles in the body, including preconceptionally and throughout pregnancy such as: maintaining the structure of cellular membranes, aiding in the transmission of nerve impulses, assisting in the absorption of fat and reducing chronic inflammation.
Sore Muscles: Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes. Researchers believe this is likely due to the amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon.
Skin: Watermelon contains vitamin A which is good for the skin as it is required for sebum production. Vitamin A is also needed for healthy hair and body tissues.
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