Can watermelon treat erectile dysfunction?

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Lacey Muinos 

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Lacey Muinos 

last updated: Jul 01, 2024

3 min read

While watermelon is best known as a juicy, sweet treat that can help beat the summer heat, the fruit’s perks could extend beyond backyard BBQs—even going as far as into the bedroom. In other words, watermelon might be able to benefit you sexually. But how? And what are the watermelon benefits for men, exactly? 

Ahead, we’ll answer those questions and take a closer look at the benefits of watermelon sexually and for health overall—plus, what to keep in mind if you ultimately decide to give the fruit a go to see if it has an impact on, say, erectile dysfunction and other sexual health issues.

General health benefits of watermelon  

Aptly named, watermelon is mainly composed of water. In fact, nearly 92 percent of the fruit is H2O, making it particularly effective at helping you stay hydrated. And this is important, as hydration plays an important role in many bodily functions, including delivering nutrients to cells, clearing unwanted substances (i.e. waste) from the body, supporting cognition, and more. 

Because of its high water content, watermelon is low in calories. Replacing high-calorie foods with those lower in calories could help with weight loss and weight management. Eating watermelon instead of higher calorie sweets (such as cookies) has been shown to improve markers associated with overweight and obesity, such as body weight and body mass index (BMI).

Despite watermelon’s low calories, it contains significant nutrients. The fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, which can contribute to heart, eye, and immune health, and it provides a variety of vitamins and minerals. Most notably, watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, and copper. Observational research even suggests that those who eat watermelon tend to take in more nutrients in general (though, of course, this association does not imply causation).

Benefits of watermelon sexually 

There are many reasons to eat more watermelon. For men, watermelon may have additional benefits related to their sexual and reproductive health. Keep in mind, though, that the available research is sparse. Many of the studies focus on animals and, if done on humans, are small in size. Larger trials are needed to draw more conclusions, but for now, let’s take a look at the potential watermelon benefits for men.

May treat erectile dysfunction

Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that converts into arginine, another amino acid, which is the precursor for  nitric oxide, a substance that acts as a vasodilator. Meaning, it widens your blood vessels and, in turn, improves blood flow throughout the body, including to the penis. By enhancing blood flow to the penis, watermelon (thanks to citrulline) may help folks achieve and maintain firmer erections. 

May boost male fertility

Watermelon is rich in antioxidants that help fend off free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress, which can otherwise lead to cellular damage and disease. Free radicals can also contribute to infertility in men, as the overproduction of free radicals can affect sperm quality and quantity. But that’s where watermelon—more specifically, the lycopene in watermelon—comes in. One of the key antioxidants in the fruit, lycopene has been shown to reduce sperm DNA damage caused by oxidative stress in both fertile and infertile men. 

May support prostate health

The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system. It’s involved in semen production and ejaculation, and it responds to male hormones like testosterone. Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men, and patients often report sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction, reduced sexual desire, and reduced sexual function either prior to or as a result of treatment. 

While there’s no one way to prevent prostate cancer, following a healthy, balanced diet may reduce the risk of developing it. Specifically, eating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as lycopene, may especially reduce the risk. The lycopene in watermelon has been studied and some studies have found high-lycopene diets can decrease the incidence of prostate cancer by up to 25%. Its potent antioxidant activities, which neutralize damaging free radicals, may lend to its potential anticancer properties. Always consult with a nutritionist or other healthcare provider before making drastic changes to your diet.

Are there any health risks of watermelon? 

There’s a lot you may be able to gain from eating watermelon. And while there aren’t any major health risks for most people, there are some things to keep in mind before digging in.

Though rare, a watermelon allergy is possible and is more likely to occur in people who are allergic to ragweed or pollen. The fruit’s high water content could cause bloating in some folks. And since watermelon is a high-FODMAP food (a type of food that contains carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the gut), it can increase symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and may not be a good choice for those with other gastrointestinal disorders.

Bottom line

Is watermelon a natural form of Viagra? Not exactly. Viagra is a prescription drug that’s FDA-approved for treating ED. Watermelon contains some compounds, such as citrulline and lycopene, that have been associated with improving longer-term male sexual health and fertility in some small or animal studies. While the preliminary research is promising, it’s still underway and more research on humans is needed to fully understand the sexual benefits of watermelon.

Viagra Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

July 01, 2024

Written by

Lacey Muinos

Fact checked by

Raagini Yedidi, MD

About the medical reviewer

Raagini Yedidi, MD, is an internal medicine resident and medical reviewer for Ro.