Researchers have already cited past research concerning watermelon juices antioxidant properties as well as its potential to increase muscle protein and enhance athletic performance, but had not explored the effectiveness of watermelon juice drinks enriched in L-citruline.
The new research tested natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice enriched in L-citruline and a control drink containing no L-citruline. Volunteers were tested an hour before exercise. They discovered that the natural juice and the enriched juice relieved muscle soreness. Unpasteurized L-citruline in the natural juice seemed to be more bioavailable in a form the body could better use.
In another study in April, researchers at Florida State University found that watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight people at rest and under stress. The findings were published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
The study took the concept that more people die of heart attacks in cold weather because the stress of cold temperatures causes blood pressure to increase. The heart must work harder to pump blood into the aorta which often leads to less blood flow to the heart. People with obesity and high blood pressure face a higher risk for stroke or heart attack when exposed to the cold during the winter or in rooms with low temperatures.
The 12-week study consisted of 13 middle-aged obese men and women with high blood pressure that were divided into two groups. Cold weather conditions were simulated by dipping the participants hands into 39 degree water and taking their blood pressure and other vital measurements. For six weeks one group was given every day four grams of L-citruline amino acid and two grams of L-arginine both from watermelon extract. Group two was given a placebo and after six weeks the groups switched. The groups also were not allowed to take any blood pressure medication or make any significant lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise during the study.
As it turns out watermelon may be a part of the answer toward helping their hearts.
- Consuming watermelon had a positive impact on aortic blood pressure and other vascular parameters.
- Study participants showed improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress while at rest and exposed to cold water.