Once again, I must say the paleo diet is more than “if the caveman didn’t eat it, I should not eat it as well” thinking.
I can bet many of you think “this diet is so easy I can’t screw it up!” But unfortunately, you can, and you probably did.
There is one thing you must understand – many whole fruits and veggies should be avoided on Paleo since if you consumed them excessively, they will for sure reverse all the benefits of this fantastic ancestral diet.
So what are non-paleo fruits and veggies, and are melons among them?
Let’s find out can you eat watermelon on a Paleo diet.
Related Post: How Long Does Watermelon Last?
Is Watermelon Allowed On Paleo Diet?
Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family alongside honeydew, cucumber, and cantaloupe. Watermelon grows on vines on the ground, and it has a thick green striped rind.
The interesting fact is that watermelons have originated in Africa, and it dates back to several thousands of years ago.
Watermelons have incredibly high water content, which is approximately 92%, so I can safely say that watermelon is a great choice for anyone who is on a paleo diet.
This plant is somewhere between fruit and veggie, the same as a cucumber. It has a juicy and crunchy texture, the color of its flesh varies from dark red to pink, and there are even orange and yellow varieties.
The taste is sweet, and if you want, you may even eat rinds and seeds too; usually, you eat it raw, but it is not uncommon to eat pickled watermelon.
You can make various dishes and salads with it, but I will talk about this later.
Nutritional Value Of Watermelon
Watermelon is an excellent source of good nutrients like most fruits are. It’s rich in vitamin C and lycopene and also an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium.
But what is most important is that watermelon contains significant amounts of other minerals such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, selenium, choline, and betaine.
Compared to other fruits and vegetables, watermelon has a high content of lycopene, which is great since it is known that this mineral has the ability to prevent heart diseases. Also, phenolic antioxidants such as citrulline, cucurbitacin E, and triterpene provide anti-inflammatory properties.
What Are Health Benefits Of Watermelon
Regular consumption of watermelon will help you decrease the risk of certain illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases. But that’s not all; in the list below are some of the reasons why you should include watermelon in your paleo diet immediately.
1. Antioxidants And Anti-inflammatory Support
Many studies have shown that regular watermelon consumption will ward off damages caused by free radicals due to the presence of carotenoids like lycopene, vitamin C, beta carotene, and cryptoxanthin. It also contains phenolic compounds that have anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces oxidative stress.
Lycopene is an inhibitor of inflammatory processes that repairs damaged tissues in the body. Eating watermelon regularly will reduce the inflammatory marker CRP in the body, which may help reduce the risk of arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Heart Health
The significant amounts of minerals such as potassium and magnesium are beneficial for regulating blood pressure. Potassium has the ability to reduce the tension of the blood vessels and arteries, so it protects your heart and reduces the risk of a heart attack.
Beta-carotene, on the other hand, has anti-aging properties and reduces age-related cardiac problems.
Carotenoid lycopene prevents the hardening of artery walls and veins and significantly reduces the risk of blood clots, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis.
3. Digestive Support
Since watermelon is made up of 92% water, it is logical that this fruit’s consumption will be beneficial for the digestive system. It can prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive system. Dietary fibers from watermelon will enhance bowel movements.
4. Helps Maintain Skin, Hair, And Eye Health
Watermelon contains high amounts of vitamin C and A that are necessary for boosting hair and skin health. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in producing collagen and healing connective tissue, which results in slowing down the aging process.
Vitamin A repairs damaged skin and hair and keeps the skin looking young and hair looking healthy and shiny. Since watermelon is full of water, it boosts overall hydration, so your skin will look smooth.
Beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C are beneficial in protecting your eyes from age-related blindness and macular degeneration.
5. Improves Kidney Function
The high amounts of potassium contribute to the reduction of toxic deposits in the kidney. It also reduces the concentration of uric acid in the blood and helps avoid the risk of kidney damage and failure.
Being high in water content means that watermelon can induce frequent urination. Further frequent urination helps flush out the toxins and helps in cleaning the kidneys.
6. Cancer Prevention
As I already said, watermelon is high in antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene, which are linked to decreasing cancer risk, particularly in the prostate. This mighty combo can combat the formation of free radicals that are the main cause of tumors and cancers.
7. Relief From Impotence
If you did not know, watermelon is rich in arginine as well. This compound is beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction for men.
8. Help Reduce Muscle Soreness.
Watermelon juice helps to reduce recovery heart rate and muscle soreness in athletes. The compound named citrulline is an amino acid that is sold as a supplement for muscle soreness, but it is also present in watermelon.
Research shows that citrulline absorption is more effective when you intake it as watermelon juice than on its own.
How To Consume Watermelon On Paleo Diet?
Watermelon is usually consumed raw. But did you know you can make a cold soup out of it? You can add it in salads and step up the game. You can also make frozen popsicles from watermelon. And lastly, you can pickle the watermelon.
Let’s go over some of my favorite watermelon recipes.
Cold Watermelon Soup
This meal is low-carb, low-sodium, and low-fat, so it’s paleo-approved 1/1. If you ever ate gazpacho soup, you know how refreshing cold soups can be during long hot summers. So why wouldn’t you try to make your own watermelon cold soup?
All you need for this recipe is four slices of watermelon without pits, of course. To add some spiciness, you will need two teaspoons of minced ginger and ten mint leaves.
But that’s not all; if you like sour soups, make sure you add some lime juice approximately ¼ of the cup. To enhance the taste of the watermelon, add a bit of salt, trust me.
To bind the soup, you will need to add ice. Mix all ingredients in the blender for 20 seconds, and your meal is ready for consumption.
Mexican Watermelon Paleo Salad
If you are a fan of spicy Mexican food, you will love this salad. The preparation process is quick and easy, and I bet you will have a lot of fun while preparing this tasty dish.
First, you will need to mix some pumpkin seeds with olive oil, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, and lime juice. Spread the mixture on the parchment paper and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
These spicy seeds are the main reason why this salad is so tasty.
While you bake the seeds, mix sliced red onions, cubes of seedless watermelon, cucumber, fresh mint leaves, olive oil, kosher salt, fresh lime juice (to taste), and a bit of chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds and season to taste. Enjoy!
Pickled Watermelon Rinds
When you have a lot of watermelon rinds, and you don’t know what to do with them, try pickling them! It might seem like a bad idea, but trust me, it’s insanely tasty.
If you never pickled anything before, you will first need to prepare the brine. To get brine ready, you will need to boil 2 cups of water, remove it from the heat and add one tablespoon of salt. Let it cool down completely before continuing.
While you wait for your brine to cool off, cut the rinds into cubes. This amount of brine is enough for ½ lbs of watermelon rinds; keep that in mind if you want to pickle larger amounts. Make sure you peel off the hard green skin from the rinds!
Place the cubed rinds in the jar and add two cloves of garlic. You can as well add dill or a mustard seed if you like them; this step is optional. Pour the cold brine over the rinds almost to the top. Store in a dark place for three days and taste it. Let it rest for two more days.
The rinds should be soft and crunchy at the same time.
As you can see, watermelon is great, and it is paleo-friendly, but do not consume it excessively since it is high in sugar, so be cautious with it! This especially considers people who have diabetes!
Anyhow this fruit will help you enhance your overall health and fight sugar cravings while on a paleo diet. Also, I must warn you never to buy pre-cut watermelon since they are identified as possible salmonella carriers.