Watermelon – The New SPF!
By: Shannon Martin
August 23rd, 2019
Did you hear that eating watermelon can help prevent your skin from soaking in those harmful UV rays from the sun? Studies have found that watermelon is one of those hidden superfoods. We all know that it’s delicious and refreshing on hot, summer days. Due to the level of water, this fruit contains (92%), it is hydrating if nothing else. This amount of water, also, enables you to feel fuller causing you to eat fewer calories in the process, according to healthline.com.
Like all fruits, another benefit of eating watermelon is all the nutrients you’re consuming with it. Antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, and lycopene are really important in our bodies. For our purposes, let’s focus on the reasons they are most important to the skin.
Let’s break down each nutrient:
Carotenoids are plant compounds that our bodies covert to Vitamin A. Vitamin A and Vitamin C are important for our skin. Vitamin C helps our bodies create collagen, a protein that keeps your skin flexible. Vitamin A helps make and repair skin cells. Rejuvenating the skin like this prevents it from becoming dry.
Lycopene is also considered to be a carotenoid. However, it is not converted into Vitamin A. This antioxidant is what gives red fruits their color. The riper and red the fruit, the more lycopene it has to offer. Watermelons themselves have, on average, 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes, according to AgResearch Magazine. Lycopene protects us from various diseases – diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers – that are caused by free radicals. The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies says that free radicals are unstable molecules that cause damage to your cells, tissues, and DNA. They are formed during a natural process called oxidation, or the burning of oxygen by our cells. Lycopene, as an antioxidant, plays a major role in maintaining normal cellular activity. We need antioxidants such as this and Vitamin C to help counter oxidation because in today’s world it’s completely unavoidable. Contaminants like air pollution, unhealthy foods, and sunlight (since we’re discussing the skin), can speed up the process of these free radicals causing a lot of cellular damage and leaving us at risk for chronic diseases.
With that explained, we can see that free radicals, created from our exposure to sunlight and harmful UV rays, will cause skin damage – from sun spots and sunburn and in worst cases, skin cancer. So… when you see that watermelon at a picnic – chow down and dream of all the lycopene (and other antioxidants) ridding your body of those cell-destroying free radicals. Or – just enjoy the sweet treat knowing it has numerous health benefits. But make sure you don’t skip on the real SPF for maximum protection.
Photo Credit: Shannon Martin
Featured Credit: Quinn Martin