In this brief article we will answer the query,”Is watermelon a fruit?” We will talk about why watermelons are classified as a vegetable in the culinary world. We will take a look at the nutritional profile of watermelons. We will also briefly discuss the health benefits of watermelons.
Is watermelon a fruit?
A watermelon is botanically a fruit, this is because it develops from the ovary of the plant after flowering and contains seeds. A vegetable is referred to as a substance that’s consumed from parts of a plant such as the leaves (spinach) or carrots (roots).
However there are people who tend to classify it as a vegetable, read on to find out why.
Why do some people classify watermelon as a vegetable?
Watermelon belongs to a cucumber family known as Cucurbitaceae which also comprises gourds. Watermelons tend to be grown like vegetable crops and even make use of vegetable production systems.
In the culinary world, watermelons are largely treated as veggies. Even though watermelon is majorly consumed as a fruit it got clustered as a vegetable in some places. For instance, in Oklahoma, watermelon is officially considered to be the state’s vegetable.
What is the nutritional profile of watermelon?
Watermelon is mainly made up of 91 percent water and carbohydrates 7.5 percent. It contains zero amount of protein and fat and is low in calories. A 100 grams of raw watermelon typically provides:
- Calories: 30
- Water: 91 percent
- Protein: 0.6 grams
- Carbs: 7.6 grams
- Sugar: 6.2 grams
- Fiber: 0.4 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
Watermelon has 12g of carbohydrates in a cup which is equivalent to 152 grams. The carbs are simple sugars and comprise glucose, fructose and sucrose. Watermelon also contains small amounts of dietary fiber.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a food consumed raises the sugar levels in the bloodstream after consumption. The GI of watermelons ranges from 72 to 80 which is high.
Although a serving of watermelon is usually low in carbohydrates therefore it should not spike blood sugar levels when consumed.
Watermelon is very poor in fiber only providing about 0.4 grams in a 100 grams. It however contains a high amount of fructose content and is therefore considered high in FODMAPS, or fermentable short-chain carbs.
Consumption of high amounts of fructose can result in gastrointestinal problems in people that cannot fully digest them, an example is people who suffer from fructose malabsorption.
Vitamins and Minerals
Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin C and also contains some amounts of various vitamins and minerals. It contains:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is also good for the skin, it as well boosts the immunity.
- Potassium: This is an essential mineral and it’s important for controlling blood pressure and heart health.
- Copper: Copper is another mineral that is contained in watermelon. This mineral is usually in abundance in most plants.
- Vitamin B5: It is also referred to as pantothenic acid. Watermelon is a good source of Vitamin B5 and is useful in the production of energy from production of fats and carbs.
- Vitamin A: Watermelon contains beta carotene, which the body can convert to Vitamin A.
What are the health benefits of watermelon?
It can help lower blood pressure
Watermelon is a good source of citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid which is usually converted into another amino acid known as L-arginine. These two amino acids assist in the production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is an important molecule in the body as it aids in the dilation of blood vessels boosting proper blood flow throughout the body as well as other health benefits such as boosting brain function, lowering the blood pressure and improving exercise performance.
Therefore consumption of watermelon or drinking its juice can assist in lowering of blood pressure and arterial stiffness in people who are suffering from high blood pressure.
It can help reduce Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and helps in controlling the blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance is a condition where numerous cells in the muscles, fat and liver become resistant and dont respond effectively and cant utilize glucose for energy.
Watermelon juice and arginine have been studied and found to reduce this condition.
In this brief article we have answered the query,”Is watermelon a fruit?” We have talked about why watermelons are classified as a vegetable in the culinary world. We have looked at the nutritional profile of watermelons. We have also briefly discussed the health benefits of watermelons.