Want to Improve Overall Diet & Support Heart Health? Eat Watermelon!
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
I have probably written five articles about watermelon. It is one of those fruits which can be referred to as a gift that keeps on giving. July is National Watermelon Month, and two recent studies have uncovered new health benefits of consuming watermelon. Because watermelon is so hydrating, refreshing and delicious, I don’t think we need much motivation to eat it. But it is always good to get new information to reinforce why we need to continue incorporating this fruit into our diet.
The first study analyzed the diets of children (2 to 18-years-old) and adults (19-years-old and up), totaling 56,133 people. This study is particularly interesting, because it focuses on how eating a specific food affects overall diet quality.
“While the nutrient intake and diet quality benefits of fruits has been well studied, a focused study of the impact of watermelon intake on these variables is lacking. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to assess the differences in nutrient intake and diet quality of watermelon consumers and non-consumers in a large sample size representative of the US population,” according to the study report.
The results revealed that watermelon consumers:
- Had more than 5 percent higher intake of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A.
- Had more than 5 percent lower intake of added sugars and total saturated fatty acids.
- Had a higher intake of lycopene and other carotenoids.
“Watermelon intake was associated with not only higher overall diet quality score, but also higher subcomponent scores unrelated to fruit, further suggesting their benefit towards adhering to overall dietary recommendations.”
Furthermore, “A 2019 study found 2 cups of fresh watermelon daily was associated with lower body weight, BMI, hunger rating, and desire to eat, suggesting watermelon is a healthy snack to help lose weight and curb appetite.”
The second study about watermelon focuses on watermelon juice supplementation and heart health. In the study, a group of healthy young adults (18 to 40 years of age) supplemented with watermelon juice daily for two weeks. The study sample was just 18 people total, but it looked at two very powerful compounds present in watermelon: L-citrulline and L-arginine.
L-citrulline is an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide helps your arteries relax and work better, which improves blood flow throughout your body. This is very good for heart health and function. Our kidneys convert L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine.
The results of the study showed that supplementing with watermelon juice protected vascular function during hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). As always it is key to consult with your doctor or a competent healthcare professional, but if you are diabetic or prediabetic it might be good to incorporate watermelon into your diet.
“We acknowledge that while the sample size was small (18 healthy young men and women) and more research is needed, this study adds to the current body of evidence supporting regular intake of watermelon for cardio-metabolic health. In addition to L-citrulline and L-arginine, watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and lycopene – all of which can help reduce oxidative stress and play a role in heart disease prevention,” according to Dr. Jack Losso, one of the researchers who was referenced in this report.A natural Viagra?
“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,” according to Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station, referenced in this article.
“Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”
As I stated earlier, I don’t think we need much motivation to consume this amazing fruit, however, this information about how it can improve health in so many ways makes it even more appetizing. Heart disease is also associated with erectile dysfunction, because of the relevance to blood vessel health and function. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death for both American men and women and has been for quite some time.
To read more about watermelon, including recipes such as pickled watermelon rinds, check out these pH Labs blogs.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.