A watermelon might be 91.5 percent water, but it’s not short of nutrients. Its unique makeup of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids gives it several medicinal properties. In fact, watermelon is so healthy that it may limit your need for conventional drugs.
Why Use Watermelon As Medicine
Here’s how this low-calorie, low-fat food works as a natural medicine.
1. Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the topmost cause of death in the US, affecting 75 million American adults! If you’re affacted by high blood pressure, eat more watermelon. The fruit contains L-citrulline, an amino acid that decreases blood pressure and improves blood flow.1 2
And if you have pre-hypertension? Watermelon will still help.3 It doesn’t hurt that it’s tastier than anti-hypertensive drugs, too.
2. Treats Erectile Dysfunction
By lowering blood pressure, watermelon can also help erectile dysfunction (ED). Remember, proper blood flow is needed to hold an erection! If blood can’t get to the penis, it won’t stay hard for long – if at all.
A common cause of ED is hypertension.4 However, as L-citrulline reduces blood pressure, ED will take a backseat. A 2017 study in Andrology actually found that men with ED have low levels of L-citrulline.5 It just goes to show how watermelon can replace ED drugs!
3. Soothes Sore Muscles
The amino acid L-Citrulline can also ease sore muscles, according to a 2013 study in Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry. It might be just what you need after an intense workout.
Watermelon juice, in particular, has stellar effects. It lowers muscle soreness and recovery heart rate in athletes,6 giving you a great reason to bring out the juicer. You can also eat it as a tasty post-workout snack.
4. Promotes Fat Loss
L-citrulline is at it again. In a 2014 French study, researchers found that citrulline triggers the abdominal fat loss in overweight rats. It works by activating the “healthy” brown fat, which burns calories for heat. As citrulline intake increases, so does brown fat activity.7 Since excess abdominal fat heightens the risk for chronic disease, it’s worth eating watermelon for a low-calorie snack.
5. Improves Eye Health
From vitamin C to zinc, watermelon is a cocktail of eye-friendly nutrients. It also has anti-oxidative carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene, the nutrients that make watermelon red. In the eye, oxidative damage increases age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness. But with these nutrients? The risk decreases by 25 percent.8
6. Boosts Immunity
When it comes to immunity, oranges get all the attention, but watermelon may steal the spotlight.
The fruit is rich in vitamin A, a nutrient known as the “anti-infective vitamin.” Skin and mucosal cells – the body’s first line of defense – depend on it.9 The cirtrulline in watermelons also offers protection from inflammation.10
7. Balances Body’s pH
If there’s one thing you remember about watermelon, make it this: Alkalinity. Fresh fruit like watermelon increases the body’s pH when digested, absorbed, and metabolized.
This alkaline effect is linked to a lower the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and asthma.11 Watermelon combats the highly acidic Western diet, giving you protection from all sides.
To enjoy watermelon, toss it into smoothies or juices. Eat it in a cold salad with mint and feta. Feeling creative? Grill watermelon for a delicious, summer snack.
|↑1||High Blood Pressure Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑3||Figueroa, Arturo, Alexei Wong, Salvador J. Jaime, and Joaquin U. Gonzales. “Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 20, no. 1 (2017): 92-98.|
|↑4||Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑5||Barassi, A., M. M. Corsi Romanelli, R. Pezzilli, C. A. L. Damele, L. Vaccalluzzo, G. Goi, N. Papini, G. M. Colpi, L. Massaccesi, and G. V. Melzi d’Eril. “Levels of l‐arginine and l‐citrulline in patients with erectile dysfunction of different etiology.” Andrology 5, no. 2 (2017): 256-261.|
|↑6||Tarazona-Díaz, Martha P., Fernando Alacid, María Carrasco, Ignacio Martínez, and Encarna Aguayo. “Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 61, no. 31 (2013): 7522-7528.|
|↑7||Joffin, Nolwenn, Anne‐Marie Jaubert, Sylvie Durant, Jean Bastin, Jean‐Pascal De Bandt, Luc Cynober, Christophe Moinard, Claude Forest, and Philippe Noirez. “Citrulline induces fatty acid release selectively in visceral adipose tissue from old rats.” Molecular nutrition & food research 58, no. 9 (2014): 1765-1775.|
|↑8||Carotenoids. Oregon State University.|
|↑9||Vitamin A. Oregon State University.|
|↑10||Wijnands, Karolina AP, Tessy MR Castermans, Merel PJ Hommen, Dennis M. Meesters, and Martijn Poeze. “Arginine and citrulline and the immune response in sepsis.” Nutrients 7, no. 3 (2015): 1426-1463.|
|↑11||Cordain, Loren, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A. Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller. “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 2 (2005): 341-354.|