Miracle Melons — Crunching On This Superfruit Might Help Lower Blood Pressure [Study]
Image: The Heart Link Network
Juicy, delicious, and only about 46 calories per cup, watermelon is a refreshing addition to any diet. But could there be more to this juicy fruit? A small study at Florida State University, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, reported that watermelon may significantly lower blood pressure in overweight individuals.
Death from heart attack is more common in cold temperatures, mainly because colder environments are stressful on the body, which increases blood pressure. The heart must then work even harder to make sure blood is being pumped into the aorta, which can eventually lead to insufficient blood flow to the heart (also known as a heart attack). With this in mind, researchers knew that this was even more dangerous for overweight individuals.
The experiment involved 13 middle-aged men and women and split them into two groups. The first group was given 4g of L-citrulline and 2g of L-arginine, two amino acids found in watermelon extract. The second group was given a placebo. Halfway through, the groups switched. To simulate “cold temperatures,” participants’ blood pressure was measured while one hand was submersed in cold water (39ºF). Taking extra caution throughout the 12-week study, the researchers prohibited subjects from using any blood pressure medications or changing any lifestyle habits including diet and exercise.
The results? Participants showed improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress, both at rest and while they were exposed to the cold water.
“The pressure on the aorta and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon extract” — Arturo Figueroa, associate professor at Florida State University
The Bottom Line
Add a little bit of watermelon to your diet, especially with summer in sight. Even if you’re not concerned with blood pressure or obesity-related health issues, watermelons still pack a pretty big punch.
It’s fat-free, full of vitamins A and C, and the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. Hard to believe this melon is 92% water, right? (You might still want to eat around the black seeds though!)
is an AFAA-CGF, Beachbody INSANITY Coach, former chunky gal
, 110% pure fitness junkie and an SEC-lovin' sorority girl at the University of Missouri.
When she isn't spending her extra time as a campus tour guide (Go Tigers!), she's probably scrounging around the aisles of Barnes & Noble or doing some impulse online shopping.
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