Celebrate National Watermelon Day, August 3. This healthy and delicious, family fun food brings to mind all the great things about summer – picnics, family reunions, watermelon eating contests to mention a few. Eat up, it’s a healthy food that the whole family can enjoy!

watermellon feta and mint salad
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad

Watermelon Contains A Wealth Of Valuable Nutrients

Watermelon provides abundant Vitamin A, B6, C, Healthful Fiber, Potassium and Lycopene.

Research suggests that it can be an effective natural weapon against Pre-Hypertension a leading cause of  cardiovascular disease.

Watermelon is a favorite fruit because it’s naturally  sweet, low calorie, high fiber and nutrientrich!  New evidence from a study led by food scientists at The Florida State University reported that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against pre-hypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

“We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in prehypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon,” they said. “These findings suggest that this nutritive ‘functional food’ has a vasodilatory  effect, and one that may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart
attacks and strokes.”

Why Is Watermelon So Beneficial?

“Watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline, which is closely related to L-arginine, the amino acid required  for theformation of nitric oxide essential to the regulation of vascular tone and healthy blood pressure,” the researchers said.

Once in the body, the L-citrulline is converted into L-arginine.Simply consuming L-arginine as a dietary supplement isn’t an option formany hypertensive adults, they said because it can potentially cause nausea, gastrointestinal tract discomfort and  diarrhea for those who have high blood pressure.

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States,” they said. “Generally, Americans have been more concerned about their blood cholesterol levels and dietary cholesterol intakes rather than their overallcardiovascular health risk factors leading to CVD, such as obesity and vascular dysfunction characterized by arterial stiffening andthickness, issues that functional foods such as watermelon can help to mitigate.

“By functional foods,” noted the researchers “we mean those foods scientifically shown to have health-promoting or disease-preventing properties,above and beyond the other intrinsically healthy nutrients
they also supply.”

Oral L-citrulline supplementation might allow a reduced dosage of antihypertensive drugs necessary to control bloodpressure.  “Even better, it may prevent the progression from pre-hypertension
to hypertension in the first place,” they stressed.

“Individuals with increased blood pressure and arterial stiffness, especially those who are older and those with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, would benefit from L-citrulline in either the synthetic or natural (watermelon) form,” they recommended. “The optimal dose appears to be four to six grams a day.”

Approximately 60 percent of U.S. adults are prehypertensive or hypertensive. Prehypertension is characterized by systolic blood pressure readings of 120-139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) over diastolic pressure of 80-89 mm Hg. “Systolic” refers to the blood pressure when the heart is contracting. By definition… “Diastolic” reflects the blood pressure when the heart is in a period of
relaxationand expansion.

Journal Reference:
“Effects of Watermelon Supplementation on Aortic Blood Pressure   and Wave Reflection in Individuals With Pre-hypertension: A Pilot Study”  American Journal of Hypertension

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