Watermelon Takes a Slice Out of High Blood Pressure

Sweet News about Summer's Favorite Fruit




Summer-sweet watermelon is known to be high in fiber and nutrients and low in calories. Now, evidence from a pilot study led by food scientists at Florida State University suggests that eating watermelon might also help dispel pre-hypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

“Even better, it may prevent the progression from pre-hypertension to hypertension in the first place,” says lead researcher Arturo Figueroa, an assistant professor at the university. A University of Illinois study estimates that as many as 60 percent of U.S. adults have elevated tension levels.

Why might this large-size fruit pose such a benefit? “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 [the body’s own natural] nitric oxide, essential to the regulation of vascular tone and healthy blood pressure,” says Figueroa. Once in the body, the L-citrulline naturally converts into L-arginine.

The scientists caution that consuming L-arginine as a dietary supplement isn’t a good option, because it can cause nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort; watermelon, on the other hand, provides a safe delivery system. It also has been shown to help reduce serum glucose levels. All of this makes watermelon a “functional food” because it offers health-promoting or disease-preventing properties beyond its delicious taste.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Tree Nuts Cut Colon Cancer Relapse

Two or more ounces of tree nuts a week sharply reduced cancer recurrence and premature death risk in patients with Stage III colon cancer.

Onions Healthy for Heart and Kidneys

Using six years of data from 12,000 people, Iranian scientists found that regular eaters of garlic and onions lowered their cardiovascular disease risk by 64 percent and chronic kidney disease risk by 32 percent.

Black Cumin Oil Helps Control Asthma

Asthma patients given 500 milligrams of black cumin oil twice a day for four weeks had better functioning lungs and normalized levels of disease-fighting white blood cells.

Resveratrol May Help Eye Health

Chinese researchers have determined that oral resveratrol passes through the brain to the eyes, where it may prevent vision degeneration.

Beetroot Juice Helps Older Brains Act Younger

Sedentary adults with hypertension that drank beetroot juice before a thrice-weekly treadmill session had brain connectivity markers of younger adults.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags