Just in time for the Fourth of July- some good public relations for the humble watermelon.
Scientists say a slice of juicy watermelon has effects that can be compared to the drug Viagra.
Watermelon contains phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that react with the human body to trigger a healthy reaction.
Among the phyto-nutrients are lycopene, beta carotene and, citrulline that helps the body’s blood vessels relax, similar to the effects of Viagra. This study comes out of Texas, coincidentally one of the top producers of the seedless variety of watermelon.
You’ll have to eat large quantities of the flesh and about 60 percent of citrulline is found in the rind of the watermelon. It reacts with enzymes in the body to change into the amino acid arginine, which is beneficial to the circulatory and immune system, and may be helpful for those suffering from type-2 diabetes, as well as obesity.
"Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it," Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center tells Associated Press. "Watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, but it's a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects."
The study also finds that nitric oxide also helps with high blood pressure, cardiovascular circulation and angina.
However, don’t expect watermelon to substitute as a treatment, finds the study, paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
You’d have to eat about six cups of watermelon to get enough of the citrulline to boost the body’s arginine levels. Watermelon is a diuretic so expect more trips to the bathroom. #