Watermelons are not only tasty and refreshing, they’re also packed with health benefits that include managing diabetes, supporting weight loss and reducing the severity of asthma attacks among others.

Here are 13 benefits of watermelon backed by scientific research:

1. Antioxidants

Watermelon is an excellent source of free radical fighting vitamin C and lycopene. They neutralize the damage-causing free radicals and prevent them from causing cellular damage.

2. Diabetes Protection

When you eat watermelon, your kidneys convert one amino acid into one called L-arginine. Studies show that L-arginine is beneficial in regulating insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

3. Post Workout Recovery

Watermelon contains a substance called L-citrulline, which is a restorative amino acid. It helps accelerate the rate of lactic acid removal from your muscles, which aids quicker recovery time after a workout. The high water content of watermelon will also help you to rehydrate.

4. Heart Healthy

Lycopene is the substance that gives red and pink fruits their colors, and has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk in people who consume lycopene-rich foods regularly. Watermelon is rich in lycopene – it contains almost one and a half times more lycopene than tomatoes.

5. Asthma Attacks

There is new research showing a connection between vitamin C and asthma. It shows that low levels of vitamin C may lead to an increase in asthma attacks, and higher levels of the vitamin are linked to a reduction in symptoms. Watermelon has nearly 40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C in just one wedge.

6. Weight Loss Aid

Watermelon is mostly water and fiber, which fills you up without a massive calorie cost. It’s also tasty, sweet and refreshing, so you can enjoy it guilt-free.

7. Nerve Function

Potassium is essential to proper nerve function, and watermelon is packed with it. Too little potassium in the diet can cause poor nerve function, which can show up with numbness and tingling. Night-time leg cramps can also be caused by a potassium deficiency.

8. Soothes Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is known to be a sign that there is a risk of one of the serious diseases such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease taking hold.

One of the best ways to fight inflammation is by including beneficial foods in the diet, such as watermelon, which contains the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. These two amino acids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

9. Balancing pH Levels

Everything we eat or drink has a pH value. Some are acidic, while others are alkaline or neutral. Our natural pH level is 7.4, which puts it slightly on the alkaline side of the scale. Our average Western diet full of fats, sugars and processed foods tends to be more acidic, which can cause problems with the body’s pH balance.

Watermelon is alkaline, and can help to neutralize the acidic foods in our diet, aiding our bodies in keeping our pH balanced.

10. Can Help Prevent Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

When the temperatures rise in summer, lots of people fall victim to heat stroke, which is a serious condition that needs medical treatment.

Watermelon is mostly water and contains electrolytes that can help battle the heat of summer and reduce the potential risk of heat stroke. If you think someone is suffering with heat stroke, get medical help immediately.

11. Oral Health

Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and infection, and it is suspected that 20-25% of the population suffer from it.

Regular dental checkups and proper brushing are the first line of defense against this disease, but making sure you get proper amounts of vitamin C in your diet is important too. Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, so it can help inhibit the development of the disease.