Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Watermelons Bad For You?



Short answer

Watermelon is great for you, providing the body with several essential nutrients while keeping you hydrated. Excessive amounts of sugar and lycopene may be problematic, so limit your intake to a few cups per day.



Long answer

Watermelon, a fruit related to cucumbers and pumpkins, is a great source of many nutrients, especially the carotenoid, lycopene. Lycopene, which gives tomatoes, guavas, and watermelon their characteristic red color, is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It helps our bodies in a variety of ways, such as preventing prostate cancer and improving blood circulation, in addition to fighting free radicals that may cause harm to the body. 

Watermelons are also beneficial in several other ways. Watermelon is approximately 92% water, which means it can be a great source of hydration and excellent in preventing heat stroke. Watermelons are low in calories, contain no fat or sodium, and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, pantothenic acid, copper, and potassium. While the rind is edible (the first cookbook published in America in 1796 has a recipe for pickled watermelon rinds), it is usually not eaten. Other than lycopene, one of the best things about watermelon is that it contains an amino acid called citrulline. Citrulline is converted by the body into arginine. Both amino acids are essential for improved blood flow and cardiovascular health. Some research even indicates that citrulline can help prevent or combat erectile dysfunction. 

Despite its health benefits, the watermelon does pose a few slight risks. First, watermelon has a relatively high amount of sugar, containing 10 grams per cup. Even though this is natural sugar, too much can still be problematic. Also, due to its potassium content, people with hyperkalemia should limit themselves to no more than one cup of watermelon per day. Lycopene in amounts of over 30 mg per day has been shown to possibly lead to nausea, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea, so we don't suggest eating exclusively watermelon or other lycopene-rich foods.

Possible short-term side effects

  • nausea
  • bloating
  • indigestion
  • diarrhea

Possible long-term side effects

  • exacerbated hyperkalemia

Ingredients to be aware of

  • sugar (fructose)

Big is watermelon bad for you.


  • promotes cardiovascular health
  • keeps you hydrated
  • improves the immune system
  • may help prevent / combat erectile dysfunction
  • may improve bone health
  • may prevent various forms of cancer

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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-08-2016

Written by Jeff Volling
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