Amino acids found in watermelon have been shown to lower blood pressure. In addition to healthy vitamins and minerals, watermelon contains two amino acids, L-arginine and L-citrulline, that reduce hypertension.
Other Natural Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
Other foods have also been shown to lower blood pressure. Bananas can lower hypertension, as can raisins, beets and even chocolate.
Researchers at Florida State University used a concentrated extract of watermelon for the research on nine subjects. The dosage used in the study was six grams of the combined watermelon amino acids. After six weeks, all of the participants, 100 percent, showed reduced blood pressure. The study concluded that watermelon could be used by people who have pre-hypertension to keep the condition from progressing to high blood pressure. This means that eating watermelon may allow those at risk for heart disease to avoid taking preventative blood pressure lowering medications that are usually prescribed.
Blood Pressure Prevention Medication Side Effects
Pharmaceutical drugs are frequently prescribed for those with a tendency towards high blood pressure, a condition called pre-hypertension. These medications have been shown to have numerous side effects, including potassium loss that leads to an increased risk of diabetes. Other side effects, reported by Johns Hopkins University, include constipation, frequent urination, headaches, digestive upset, dizziness, and a tendency to dehydration, which causes a number of health issues in itself. Watermelon, on the other hand, has no known side effects.
Watermelon Contains Vitamins and Lycopene
Watermelon also contains healthy nutrients, such as vitamins A, vitamin C and vitamin B6, along with potassium and fiber. Watermelon also contains lycopene, the nutrient plentiful in tomatoes that has been show to have numerous health benefits. Lycopene is an antioxidant. Eating foods high in lycopene has been shown to reduce the incidence of many types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. Lycopene has been shown to prevent heart attacks both in studies at John Hopkins University and in international studies. Though tomatoes were used in the studies, other foods known to be rich in lycopene are watermelons, grapefruits, apricots and guavas.
Watermelon Mechanism of Action
Watermelon lowers blood pressure because of its action in production of nitric oxide, researchers surmise. This is because L-citrulline in the watermelon is converted into L-arginine, which is then used to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps control blood pressure.
L-Arginine Alone is Not Enough
Taking the amino acids L-arginine by itself is not an effective treatment for high blood pressure, nor is it recommended because the amino acid is not easy to digest and can cause digestive problems, including diarrhea.
Watermelon Dosage to Prevent High Blood Pressure
The dosage used in the watermelon study was four to six grams of watermelon extract, but a healthier alternative is to add raw watermelon to the diet.