Watermelon isn't a food you see listed too often in bodybuilding diet plans. Most bodybuilders seem to get their carbs from starches, such as rice and oatmeal, rather than fruits, but this could be a mistake. By forgoing fruit, you're missing out on vital nutrients. Watermelon has several benefits that make it a useful addition to a muscle-building or fat-burning diet.
The Calorie Connection
When you're looking to shred fat and get lean for a contest, you need to cut your calorie intake. Watermelon only contains 30 calories and around 6 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Compare this to 89 calories and 12 grams of sugar in the same amount of banana, or 296 calories and 78 grams of sugar in 100 grams of raisins.
Watermelon: Yes for NO
Nitric oxide -- NO -- is sometimes used by bodybuilders in supplement form to increase blood flow to muscles. Watermelon is a good source of citrulline, which helps to naturally boost your levels of NO, according to dietitian Matthew Kadey of Muscle Mag. Additionally, a study published in a 2013 edition of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" found that watermelon juice helped athletes feel less sore and recover better between sessions.
As the calories in watermelon come predominantly from carbohydrate, this makes it a good choice for eating after a workout, as it will help to replenish your depleted glycogen stores. Its lower fiber content is also a bonus, as this may aid the speed of digestion, leaving you feeling less bloated. Just make sure you pair your post-workout fruit with some protein, advises dietitian Dr. Christine Gerbstadt. A protein shake, a cup of cottage cheese or some sliced ham would all suffice.
Ways With Watermelon
Use your imagination when finding ways to get watermelon into your diet. You could add it to a fruit salad, or just have a slice to accompany your omelet at breakfast. Blend watermelon into a protein shake to give it a refreshing kick, or even use it in savory dishes. Nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden suggests a watermelon salad, which is made by combining watermelon, sweet onion, olive oil, mint, red wine vinegar and feta cheese. Have this alongside a piece of grilled chicken or steak.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Watermelon, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bananas, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Raisins, Seeded
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Watermelon Juice: Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes
- Muscle Mag: 6 Muscle-Friendly Fruits
- Men's Fitness: Five Perfect Post-Workout Snacks
- Jonny Bowden: Featured Summer Recipe: Watermelon Salad With Mint Leaves