From Dr. Whitaker
Did you know that watermelon is actually a vegetable rather than a fruit? A member of the squash and cucumber family, this sweet, juicy treat is a nutritional powerhouse. Low in calories—a cup of cubed melon contains about 40 calories—watermelon is loaded with lycopene, a carotenoid that protects against heart disease and prostate and other types of cancer.
Watermelon juice may also beef up levels of arginine. Researchers from Texas A&M University found that drinking watermelon juice with meals for three weeks increased blood levels of this amino acid by 22 percent. Why is this important? Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps regulate blood pressure, support healthy circulation, and even boost male sexual function.
Rather than “thumping” melons to find a good one, look for one that has a yellow underside and is smooth and heavy for its size. And don’t store watermelon in the refrigerator—those kept at room temperature have considerably more beta-carotene and lycopene than chilled melons.