Watermelon: the new, cool way to lower blood pressure in the obese
WATERMELON has a vasodilatory effect, reducing ankle blood pressure in people with obesity and pre-hypertension, researchers have found.
Of course, one would need to consume the flesh of one or two whole watermelons daily to achieve this kind of benefit.
However there is an alternative. Watermelon is rich in the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine, which can be extracted and concentrated in a powdered supplement.
In a cross-over study with three men and 11 postmenopausal women with high BMI, researchers showed that 6g daily of the commercially available extract for six weeks reduced ankle blood pressure, brachial blood pressure and carotid augmentation index.
“This study suggests that watermelon extract improves arterial function independently of the reduction in peripheral [blood pressure],” the authors wrote.
The work extends an earlier study in which they demonstrated the hypotensive effect of the L-citrulline, which is metabolised to L-arginine, the substrate for endothelial nitric oxide.
Who would have thought that the humble watermelon was a functional food?
The Australian melon industry seems to be on to it, featuring the earlier Florida research on its website, http://www.melonsaustralia.org.au.
The website also has a handy watermelon app (you tap your smartphone against the melon and it tells you whether the fruit is ripe).
So much more fun than taking a pill or powder.
Am J Hypertension 2012, online 8 March