by Matt Weik
When I was at a resort in Cancun, Mexico on vacation, I saw a red beverage at the one restaurant that I was eating at. I asked the waitress what the beverage was, as I wasn’t sure if it was something like a pink lemonade or a fruit punch type of beverage. To my surprise, she said watermelon juice. Maybe I don’t get out much, but that was honestly the first time I ever heard of someone making watermelon juice. I was intrigued since I like eating watermelon, so in my head I pictured a sweet tasting beverage. Man, was I right! The juice was very light and refreshing and after being out in the sun all day, quite frankly, it hit the spot. One glass turned into more than I can count. I was hooked and made it my daily ritual to drink several glasses every day during my stay.
This got me wondering exactly what the benefits of watermelon juice were and why we really don’t hear much about it in the states. Below are some of the benefits you should expect to experience if you decide to start consuming watermelon juice regularly (whether it be already prepared or if you decide to use a juicer and make it yourself). Also, at the time of this article being published (summer of 2017), now would be the perfect time to pour yourself a healthy and refreshing glass of watermelon juice, head outside, and enjoy the weather.
1. Energy Source
Due to the natural sugars and carbohydrates found in watermelon juice, it makes for a great energy source. It also contains electrolytes to help maintain hydration. If you wished, you could use this as a pre-workout if you didn’t want something that contained stimulants.
2. Helps Maintain Blood Pressure
Due to the electrolytes and natural source of citrulline found in the juice, it can help normalize blood pressure. The citrulline helps with vasodilation and can even be used pre-workout to give you a pump when exercising. The dilation of your blood vessels can help engorge the muscles with blood and nutrients, filling them up and giving you that “pumped up” appearance.
3. Aids in Digestion
Watermelon is rich in fiber and has a heavy water content. This allows the body to flush out any toxins and keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Digestive health is something I don’t feel many people focus on when they should. Fiber is a great way to do this since it helps the good bacteria in the digestive system.
4. Fight Stress
Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, so any little help we can get to fight stress is an added bonus. Watermelon juice contains vitamin B6 that has been shown to help combat stress, anxiety, and fatigue. So, when you want to relax a little, unwind, and destress, watermelon juice can be your best friend.
5. Heart Health
Watermelon contains an antioxidant called, lycopene, that has the ability to fight free radicals found in the body that can damage not only cells, but tissues and organs. If damage to the organs become too severe, it can lead to life-threatening issues such as a heart attack.
No, this isn’t the Fountain of Youth, but it does have the ability to keep you looking younger. The lycopene found in watermelon juice can help preserve the health of your skin thanks to its ability to fight off free radicals.
7. May Reduce the Risk of Some Cancers
While we are on the topic of lycopene, watermelon juice has been found to possibly help reduce the risk of some cancers due to its antioxidant properties. While this is not a “sure thing,” including watermelon juice into your diet surely wouldn’t be a bad thing considering all the good it can do for you.
8. Reduce Muscle Soreness
Thanks to the citrulline found in watermelon, consuming watermelon juice post-workout can help diminish the soreness that generally follows an intense bout of resistance training. It’s also been found that citrulline is better absorbed by the body when it’s coming from watermelon directly, rather than from another source such as a powder or pill.
9. Helps Protect Eye Health
Watermelon contains high levels of beta-carotene. This nutrient is responsible for protecting the eyes from age-related problems that could lead to impaired vision and/or blindness.
10. High in Vitamins and Minerals
While it is still recommended that you take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement, watermelon juice can provide you with an assortment of various vitamins and minerals. Some of the vitamins and minerals you can find in watermelon are vitamin C, beta-carotene, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and if you juice the seeds, they can provide added iron and zinc.
How to Make Your Own Watermelon Juice
To make your own watermelon juice is actually very simple. First, you need to decide if you want to add the rind or not to the concoction. If not, cut the watermelon up and remove the rind. If you plan on including the rind, be sure to thoroughly clean the outer watermelon rind to remove any dirt or debris from it. Afterwards, cut up the watermelon and put it into the blender in small amounts and start blending (do not put the entire watermelon in the blender all at once). You may need to empty the blender before adding more pieces to blend. Use a setting on your blender that achieves the consistency you wish. Some people may prefer a thicker liquid while others may want it to be more of a watery consistency—ultimately, the choice is yours. Once completed pour the juice into a container that can be stored in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
If you have a juicer, making watermelon juice is extremely easy. Again, make sure the exterior rind of the watermelon is clean if you plan on juicing the entire watermelon. Then follow the steps in your instruction booklet to insert the watermelon pieces and create a juice.
*Note: you may need to add some water to either of the above in order to reach the desired consistency. Add the water slowly so you don’t put in too much and dilute the taste and flavor of the watermelon juice.
Too Lazy to Make Your Own?
If you are too lazy to make your own watermelon juice, there are brands you can find at grocery stores that sell both plain watermelon juice as well as watermelon juice with added ingredients (prepackaged). Pick whichever you prefer and you are good to go. For health reasons, try to pick one that doesn’t have any added sugars or syrups to keep the overall sugar count minimized.