Watermelon can be enjoyed many different ways.@ClevelandClinic #hearthealth

Registered dietitian Lara Whitson, RD, LD, shares how watermelon is actually healthy for you, along with five watermelon recipes.

Is watermelon healthy?

Watermelon is 92% water. No surprise there, considering it’s in the name. But more than keeping you hydrated during hot summer days, watermelon has a number of other health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants like lycopene that can help protect against chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

And when eaten regularly as part of a healthy balanced diet, it can help make you feel fuller longer. With a low amount of calories, sodium and cholesterol, alongside higher amounts of calcium, vitamin C and magnesium, watermelon is one fruit you don’t want to miss out on year-round. Even the rind and its seeds offer some benefits.

“You can stir-fry the rinds with other vegetables and add spices to the seeds, like you might do with pumpkin seeds, for an easy and healthful snack,” says Whitson.

Watermelon basil granita

This shaved ice dessert gets a fruity twist with watermelon chunks. It also pulls in star ingredients like fresh lime juice and basil leaves, which offer their own health benefits for a refreshing mid-afternoon sweet escape.

A bowl of watermelon salad with feta cheese, herbs and sliced almonds

Watermelon, tomato and herb salad with feta

Calorie-conscious dishes can still go big on flavor. This refreshing salad, perfect for picnics and cookouts, pairs watermelon with tomatoes bountiful in benefits, alongside red wine vinegar, fresh mint, almonds and feta cheese.

Slices of lemon, lime, watermelon and strawberries in a glass of water

Fresh watermelon fruit smoothie

This is just one of several ways to crank up your chill summer drinks: Puree 1-1 1/2 cups chopped watermelon with 1 cup ice and a little water or fresh juice for a sip-worthy smoothie as you soak in the sun.

A salad in a white bowl containing watermelon, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and almonds

Watermelon salad with cucumber, tomato and almonds

This recipe doubles down on the use of veggies by incorporating beefsteak tomatoes, cucumber, a fresh ear of corn and basil, along with a hearty serving of watermelon for a subtly sweet finish.

fruit spring rolls

Fruit salad spring rolls

Not only is this sweet snack filling, but it also puts a dessert-like twist on classic Vietnamese and Thai spring rolls. By wrapping julienned watermelon, green apple and pineapple in spring roll wrappers made from rice paper, and creating a dipping sauce with Greek yogurt and tahini, this recipe makes for a great palate cleanser for any summer cookout.

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