Scientific Literature Review Confirms Watermelon’s Health Potential
Watermelon is a unique fruit with compounds that may have health effects throughout the body, supporting normal cardiovascular and metabolic health. According to a new comprehensive review of the scientific literature on watermelon, eating watermelon regularly may help promote health. This research paper, authored by Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Illinois Institute of Technology was recently published in the journal Current reports on atherosclerosis.
“Research uncovers the health-promoting potential of watermelon. The current literature review provides evidence that watermelon consumption and citrulline supplementation lower blood pressure in human trials. Although further research is needed, favorable effects on lipid/lipoprotein metabolism are emerging based on the data we have reviewed and reported in preclinical models,” said lead author Burton-Freeman.
According to research, watermelon contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential amino acids. It also contains the amino acids citrulline and arginine, both of which act as precursors to nitric oxide, a molecule that plays a role in blood pressure regulation, lipid reduction and glucose control. Polyphenols and carotenoids, especially lycopene, are also abundant in watermelon. The nitric oxide benefits of citrulline and arginine coupled with the bioactivity of the polyphenols and carotenoids found in watermelon suggest that this fruit may support normal cardio-metabolic health.
Burton-Freeman and colleagues reviewed preclinical and clinical trial evidence published from 2000 to 2020 to assess the intake of watermelon and citrulline (a hallmark compound found in watermelon) on cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes, and to identify important future directions for establishing dietary advice and recommendations. They explored studies related to the whole fruit as well as citrulline supplementation, focusing on major cardio-metabolic risk factors. Further research is needed to confirm the results of the studies identified in this literature review.
The researchers concluded that watermelon provides a combination of nutrients and phytochemicals acting on several mechanisms to induce biological effects. Citrulline and arginine are central to these cardio-metabolic effects, and polyphenols, lycopene, potassium and magnesium also contribute.
Continued research is needed to determine the level of intake sufficient for clinical outcomes and will also need to be studied in various populations. Research on the whole fruit and its products (i.e. the juice) is also needed to help determine the level of adequate intake. Research has identified additional potential benefits of watermelon consumption that warrant further research, such as body weight control (possibly through satiety mechanisms), glucose control, and brain and intestinal health. intestine.
Low fruit intake is one of three dietary factors associated with death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D), along with high salt intake and low whole grain intake. These dietary factors affect people regardless of age, gender, and other sociodemographic variables.1 Recent research also shows that eating a variety of fruits helps reduce the risk of T2D2, while the amount of fruit and the type of fruit selected provide cardiovascular benefits3.