I Ate Watermelon Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

Updated: Jul. 16, 2024

Spoiler alert: I was well-hydrated, as my urinary system indicated. Plus, a nutrition expert pinpoints the one way of eating watermelon "that would be a problem."

You know when people tell a pregnant woman that it looks like she swallowed a watermelon? It’s really time we stop commenting on people’s bodies, but I’ll admit that was accurate when I was pregnant: Watermelon was my number-one craving in all six of my pregnancies. I ate at least a watermelon a week, even outside of summer.

“That makes a lot of sense,” says fellow watermelon enthusiast Jessica Plowman, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist who has been practicing dietetics for over 15 years. “Watermelon can be very comforting during pregnancy as it’s sweet, easy on the tummy, hydrating, and a good source of phytonutrients.” Another reason watermelon is a craving for people with certain medical conditions? “Watermelon is one of the … best-tolerated fruits in general,” Plowman says.

I also adore watermelon even when it doesn’t look like I’m gestating one. I’m not the only one: A recent survey done by the International Fresh Produce Association ranked watermelon as #5 on its list of most-purchased fruits. Who can blame us? It’s just the perfect combination of juice, crunch and sweetness. It’s like nature’s perfect dessert.

So when my editors asked if I wanted to eat watermelon every day for a week, I immediately agreed—I was already eating it pretty much daily anyhow. They answered, “Thanks, you’re one in a melon!” (No, they didn’t. But they should have. Laugh a little, editors!)

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How to pick the perfect watermelon

This section is going to be short. The truth is that no one really knows and anyone who says they have the secret to picking the perfect melon is guesstimating at best. Over the years I’ve heard and tested many myths and theories, from knocking on them (they’re supposed to sound like a door, but no one ever specifies which type of door) to large yellow spots (supposedly the sign they’ve properly ripened in the field) to looking for “bee stings” (what does that even mean?).

Personally, I find the season in which you buy the fruit makes the biggest difference. Buying watermelons in the summer is usually a sure bet; buying them in the winter can go either way.

But perhaps my favorite of all the melon-choosing options is the way my mom does it, by asking for a professional opinion. A few years ago, my mother—bless her innocent heart—held up two melons in front of her chest and asked the produce man, “Will you thump my melons and tell me which one is best?” We still tease her about it.

My go-to method these days is a combination of luck and blind trust. I just grab one and put it in my cart. Most of the time it works out.

How to eat watermelon every day

macro sliced watermelon,Red watermelon triangular piece on white blackgroundbanjongseal324/Getty Images

Perhaps the first question I should really be asking is if I should be eating watermelon every day.

“It’s fine,” Plowman says. “Watermelon is really hard to OD on, and I’m never going to discourage people from eating any type of fruit.” (One serving of watermelon is about two cups of cubes per day.) “That said, I feel like I should add that your diet should be balanced so make sure you’re eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies every day. I guess if all you ate every day was watermelon, that would be a problem.”

Research suggests watermelon should also be consumed with caution if you experience any of the following:

If you’re prone to digestive symptoms, watermelon is an unsuspecting food that can cause gas—and if you experience frequent headaches, it might be wise to eat watermelon sparingly: The Cleveland Clinic points out that watermelon contains a significant amount of tyramine, which is an amino acid that affects blood pressure. This means watermelon may play a role in triggering a migraine attack.

And if you’re diabetic, it’s important to proceed with caution with most fruit for the natural sugar content. “Diabetics or other people who have difficulty regulating their blood sugar may want to minimize or avoid watermelon, as it can cause blood-sugar spikes,” Plowman cautions.

The Cleveland Clinic also says that people with allergies to “certain pollens, including grass or ragweed,” could experience an allergic reaction to watermelon.

Always talk with your doctor if you’re unsure whether eating watermelon is safe.

If you’re in the clear, the first rule for eating watermelon as much as I do is to recognize that watermelon is delicious in all its forms. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat watermelon (and the one way I will never try again):

1. Raw, in large cubes

Rule #1 of watermelons: They absolutely cannot be mushy. Maybe you’ve experienced the gag-inducing effect of a watermelon that has the texture of a wet sponge. Sometimes you just buy a mushy one and then you must endure.

But a big key to keeping watermelon firm (besides refrigeration) is cutting it into very large chunks. It’s also faster, if you’re lazy like I am. My wealth of experience with watermelons has taught me that cutting it into sugar cube-sized bits is not the way.

2. Frozen watermelon in a smoothie or slushy

If you do experience the misfortune of selecting an overripe watermelon too mushy for eating, there’s still a way to salvage it: Slice it, then freeze it. Pop a few cubes into a smoothie blend for a boost in flavor, nutrition, and hydration.

You can add frozen watermelon with other fruits, but my personal favorite is to blend frozen watermelon cubes with a dash of lime juice and a single-serving packet of sugar-free lemonade drink mix. This is such a summery treat.

3. Watermelon feta salad

Bowl of salad with watermelon, cucumber, mint and fetaWestend61/getty images

It’s become a popular seasonal dish, and it’s worth a try. To make watermelon salad: Combine a bowl of cubed watermelon with a handful of crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh mint. It’s so refreshing. There are a lot of variations on this recipe—some add cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lime dressing, avocados or even jalapenos. As someone who’s played around with the combos, I can confirm that all are delicious.

4. Fruit kabobs

Get a giant bowl of different cut-up fruits. I like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, pineapple and kiwi, but any fruit that’s firm enough to put on a pike is good. Then stab them with a wooden skewer, placing them in an artfully pleasing order. It’s basically fruit salad on a stick, but somehow fruit kabobs taste way better than fruit salad in a bowl. Kids eat these up!

Dietitian Plowman loves making these and confesses sometimes she adds marshmallows. (An RDN eats marshmallows: You heard it here first!)

5. Watermelon juice

Watermelon lemonade with lime and fresh basil leaves on concrete background. Refreshing summer drinkJuliaMikhaylova/Getty Images

Juiced watermelon, again with a splash of lime, is incredibly cooling on a hot summer day. It also plays well with other juices if you savor a blended juice drink.

6. Personal watermelons

You know those adorable little single-serving watermelons they sell? I never buy them because it seems pointlessly expensive, but I decided to splurge for this article. I was both delighted and disappointed to discover that they taste exactly like bigger watermelons. I thought maybe they’d be sweeter, but nope. Still yummy though.

7. Watermelon steaks

This is a super trendy recipe right now and I’ll admit I only tried it for the sake of this article. The idea is that you slice watermelon into pieces vaguely the size and thickness of a small beef steak. You coat each slice in olive oil, liquid smoke, garlic salt, and pepper. Then you pan fry or grill the suckers.

I don’t eat much meat, so the idea of a vegan alternative to steak appealed to me…but this ain’t it. In no universe did this resemble “steak.”  I’ll stick to portobello mushroom steaks.

8. Watermelon sorbet

Fact: If you add sugar to anything and freeze it, it’s going to be flavorful. (If you don’t believe me, try wasabi ice cream. That should be an abomination of desserts, but it’s quite tasty.)

Watermelon is no exception and is probably one of the most popular flavors of sorbet. I just buy mine, but sorbet is pretty easy to make in your own freezer. It also doesn’t require much added sugar to be palatable.

Health benefits I got from eating watermelon every day

“You can generally tell what nutrients fruits and veggies are high in by looking at the color,” Plowman says. The red hue of watermelon indicates it’s high in lycopene, a natural carotenoid. The deeper and darker the color, the more nutrient-dense they are, she adds.

Watermelon, admittedly, isn’t the most nutrient-dense of the fruits, but it does have some great nutritional benefits.

Watermelon increased my hydration

Watermelon lives up to its name: It is made up of an impressive 92% water, which makes it very hydrating. “We often recommend this to kids who are picky, or elderly people who forget to drink water, as a way to keep them hydrated,” Plowman says.

I don’t need to be tricked into drinking water—I actually drink a ton of plain old H2O—but I like the idea of having a variety of sources of hydration.

Plus, it made me pee a lot, so watermelon was an all-natural detox. Expert sources have noted that watermelon helps the body release toxins such as ammonia. The hydration factor is likely one reason why, while another is the presence of the amino acid citrulline.

Watermelon reduced my inflammation

So much research suggests that many of today’s modern ills stem from systemic inflammation in the body, and phytonutrients found in plants are among the best weapons we have against inflammation. Watermelon is high in lycopene, vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants—all of which fight inflammation.

Personally, I have inflammatory arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, so eating anti-inflammatory foods is very important to me. I do notice a difference in my joints when I eat more fruits and veggies.

Watermelon may have reduced my risk of cancer

Watermelon is higher in lycopene than any other fresh fruit or veggie. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to decrease the risk of some cancers, heart disease and eye problems.

Cancer runs strong in my family, so I embrace anything I can to reduce my risk.

Watermelon may have lowered my risk of heart disease

Potassium is an important nutrient for heart and muscle health. (The heart is a muscle!) Getting enough potassium can reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure.

Thankfully I don’t suffer from heart disease—but because it’s so pervasive, this is a good reminder of how a healthy, colorful diet can help all of us reduce our risk.

A final caution with eating watermelon every day

There are some downsides to eating a lot of watermelon. In my experience, the biggest one is all the extra trips to the bathroom. It makes me pee like crazy.

“I think that’s just a ‘you’ problem,” Plowman said. “Maybe it’s because you’re already very hydrated, so the extra water from the fruit goes right through. Most people aren’t as hydrated as you are.” (Which is one of the nicest compliments anyone’s ever given me!)

However, one potential downside is worse than peeing like a racehorse: There is a lot of sugar in watermelon. “Eating it in a meal with protein and fat will reduce the effect on blood sugar,” Plowman says.

About the expert

  • Jessica Plowman, RDN, is a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist who has been counseling patients in private practice and clinical settings for over 15 years.

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