A slice of watermelon at breakfast could act as an effective weapon against heart disease.
Researchers from Florida State University found an extract from the large juicy fruit worked to lower blood pressure.
Study author Professor Arturo Figueroa, said: ‘These findings suggest that this ‘functional food’ has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.’
Professor Figueroa and Professor Bahram Arjmandi administered six grams of an amino acid from watermelon extract every day for six weeks to four men and five women aged 51 to 57-years-old.
They found there was improved arterial function and consequently lowered blood pressure in all nine patients.
Professor Figueroa said: ‘Watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline, which is closely related to L-arginine, the amino acid required for the formation of nitric oxide essential to the regulation of vascular tone and healthy blood pressure.’
Once in the body, the L-citrulline is converted into L-arginine. Simply consuming L-arginine as a dietary supplement isn’t an option for many hypertensive adults because it can cause nausea. In contrast, watermelon is well tolerated and there were no reported adverse effects in the pilot study.
Watermelons are nature’s best source of antioxidants, especially lycopene which is what you need to protect cells from damage.
The fact is lycopene is renowned for its cell protecting abilities. It is used to treat cancer (especially prostate cancer) prevent the”hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis); human papilloma virus (HPV) infection – a major cause of uterine cancer. Lycopene has also been effective in treating cataracts and asthma!
But if there isn’t anything medically wrong with you and you’re just looking to improve your health then forget about taking lycopene in a pill. Instead just have a piece of watermelon a day and you’ll be impressed by how “you really are what you eat”. Just 2 cups of watermelon a day will guarantee you younger looking skin because lycopene works against the UV-induced free radicals that cause sunburn and wrinkling.
You get better rest if you have watermelons after dinner because watermelon contains polysaccharide carbohydrates that increase the body’s output of serotonin which is what helps you sleep soundly.
You get faster healing skin and less scaring if you consistently consume watermelon because the fruit is packed with the amino acid citrulline that they body converts into arginine. Arginine affects the speed of which white blood cells accumulate at injury sites and encourages the growth of new skin tissue. All in all this means faster healing and less scaring!
Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions, [Dr. Bhimu] Patil said.
In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.
Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system, Patil said.
“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Patil. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”