As people age, their arteries often become less flexible. Atherosclerosis is associated with heart disease and high blood pressure. New research from Florida State University shows that people at risk of high blood pressure get benefit from an unexpected source.
Watermelon extract was studied in a 6-week randomized placebo controlled trial with overweight volunteers. The watermelon extract significantly improved measures of artery flexibility. The extract lowered blood pressure as much as many antihypertensive medications. The researchers believe that citrulline in the watermelon extract is converted to L-arginine, which increases nitric oxide production in the blood vessels and improves endothelial function. The 6 grams of extract given each day would be the equivalent of just over two pounds of raw watermelon.
[American Journal of Hypertension, online March 8, 2012]