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This signature summer fruit is packed with health benefits, and since July is watermelon month, why not enjoy some right now? 

Watermelon is a surefire treat hot summer days, and it's perfect anytime, whether you're enjoying a watermelon smoothie or eating it by the slice at a barbecue. But there is more to this delicious summer fruit than its taste. In fact, it offers plenty of health benefits, too. 

Watermelon has only 46 calories per cup and gives you 20% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C and 17% of your Vitamin A. Watermelon contains dietary fiber which helps with digestion, and potassium which helps keep blood pressure low. Not enough for you? Let's see what other benefits of eating watermelon.

Make sure you get your lycopene. 

When we think lycopene, we typically think about tomatoes, but one cup of watermelon actually has 1.5 times the amount of lycopene found in a large tomato. Lycopene is thought of as an intense antioxidant, working to fight free radicals from damaging your body's cells and harming your immune system. To retain these antioxidants and get the most from your fruit, store your watermelon at room temperature before cutting and serving. 

Bananas aren't the only fruit good for sore muscles.

A study found that drinking watermelon juice can help soothe sore muscles after a tough workout. With the study, athletes who drank just over 16 ounces an hour before exercising has less soreness and a lower heart rate within just one day. Why? It may be because watermelon contains citrulline which has been found to improve artery function. Unfortunately, if you want to load up on citrulline, you'll need to eat the rind, which probably won't happen, so stick to drinking the juice when you can. 

You're eating fruits AND veggies.

Watermelon comes from a seed plant, so it's a fruit. But it can be traced back to the pumpkin, squash and cucumber family, which makes it a vegetable. You can finally tell mom that you're eating your fruits and veggies every day - technically. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Watermelon is packed with well, water. According to the USDA it's 91.5% water. Hey, it's in the name. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and trouble concentrating, so if drinking a ton of water during the day is tough for you, try adding some watermelon to your lunch. 

There's some variety.

It's hard to imagine a yellow watermelon, but it does exist. The sunny interior is sweeter, almost honey-like. They look the same on the outside, so it can be confusing. The "regular" watermelon is Crimson Sweet, while the yellow variety is called Yellow Crimson. There isn't a lot of research about the health benefits of the yellow variety though, so if you're looking to improve your diet, stick to the Crimson Sweet watermelon. 

It is tough to find someone who doesn't like watermelon, but you might not think to incorporate it into meals as much as you should (mostly because it takes so long to cut up). But, now that you know these extra health benefits of watermelon, you may change your routine. Happy National Watermelon Month! 

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