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  Fruits Vegetables
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Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus / Cucurbitaceae
Benefits for the health
The watermelon is mainly formed by water (93%). It only contains 26 Kcal/100 g, that come from the fruit’s own sugar. The pink colour of the watermelon flesh is due to the presence of the lycopene carotenoid. This component is a non-provitamin A carotenoid with a good antioxidant activity. The lycopene corresponds to 30% of the total amount of carotenoids in the human plasma.

The greater source of lycopene are tomato. The watermelon and the pink grapefruit are the other fruits that supply this carotenoid to the human diet. Population studies show a relation between the consumption of tomatoes or tomato by-products and a decrease of the risk of contracting cancer, particularly prostate cancer. It has been stated that lycopene may be the determining factor that explains this beneficial effect. The watermelon is also rich in vitamin C.
Popular tradition
The watermelon has various healing properties for which the pulp, the rind or the seeds are used. It is suitable to treat sunstroke, hypertension or pharyngitis, among other diseases. It is widely used in several American countries for its healing properties.

Apart from its sweet and tasteful flavour, the watermelon is used as a remedy against heat and thirst and for its medicinal properties: it is used to treat pathologies like sunstroke, hypertension, pharyngitis or oral sores.

The pulp, the pips or even the rind can be consumed to fight these problems. The pips contain some substances that lower the pressure and ease the symptoms of acute cystitis, whereas the pulp contains citrulline and arginine, two compounds with diuretic properties.

The watermelon is used with medicinal purposes in many countries of South and Central America. In Mexico, the malaria is fought with a leaves brew. In Puerto Rico the ripe flesh is used with diuretic and tonic purposes so as to relieve bronchitis and pulmonary diseases, whereas in Venezuela the rind is used to treat hepatic diseases.
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