Watermelon is a fruit that is synonymous with summer. In the United States, it surpasses the popularity of other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew combined. Not only is it a delicious treat on a hot day, but it also offers numerous health benefits that experts have highlighted.

One of the key benefits of watermelon is its hydrating properties. With over 91 percent water content, eating a wedge of watermelon is akin to drinking a full cup of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for the body to function optimally, from maintaining blood flow to promoting regular bowel movements. The water content in watermelon plays a vital role in keeping you hydrated, which is especially important during hot weather when you lose fluids through sweat.

Dr. Tamara Hew-Butler, a sports medicine scientist at Wayne State University, emphasized that our bodies can recognize and utilize water molecules from various sources, including moist foods like fruits and vegetables. For older individuals, in particular, getting fluids through fruits like watermelon can be more enjoyable and easier than drinking plain water. Amy Ellis, a dietitian and associate professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama, pointed out that older adults often feel less thirsty, leading them to consume fewer fluids. This puts them at a higher risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses during heatwaves.

In addition to its hydrating properties, watermelon is also a rich source of essential nutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as antioxidants like lycopene, which has been linked to various health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain diseases. Incorporating watermelon into your diet can be a tasty way to boost your intake of these vital nutrients.

If you’re looking for creative ways to enjoy watermelon, The New York Times Cooking section offers a variety of refreshing recipes that highlight this summer fruit. From salads to smoothies, there are plenty of delicious ways to incorporate watermelon into your meals and snacks.

Overall, watermelon is not just a tasty summer treat; it’s also a nutritious fruit that can help you stay hydrated and nourished during the hot months. So next time you reach for a snack on a sweltering day, consider grabbing a slice of watermelon to quench your thirst and support your overall health.