We love watermelons, and we’re in watermelon season at the moment! Another reason to eat as much as you can whilst they’re in season –
You can get lycopene from tomatoes, particularly cooked and stewed tomatoes, but “on a fresh basis, you can’t do better than watermelon,” said Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh who has studied lycopene and is an unpaid science adviser to the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Red watermelon has more lycopene than other watermelon varieties, and “seedless watermelon tends to have more,” she said.
Lycopene from watermelon is also easily absorbed into the body. In one small study, researchers gave volunteers lycopene from tomato juice and lycopene from watermelon; the tomato juice had received heat treatments to boost absorption. They found the two groups had similar blood levels of lycopene.
Many people worry about the amount of sugar in watermelon, but “that’s a bit of a misconception, because the sugar content is actually lower than some other fruits, gram for gram,” said Jennifer McDaniel, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.