A refreshing and juicy summer fruit, watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) have very few calories and are packed with water, vitamins and nutrients such as potassium, copper, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and vitamin A.

Watermelons are the richest source of the amino acid citrulline, the highest amount being found in the white rind that surrounds the flesh.[1,2] In the body, the amino acid citrulline is transformed into an essential amino acid arginine, which is responsible for maintaining the health of the kidneys, liver, lungs, the immune and reproductive system and facilitate the healing of wounds.[3,4,5]

Watermelons are also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives the fleshy part of the fruit its red color.[6,7,8,9] While tomatoes are thought to be a good source of lycopene, fresh watermelons are an a greater source. Animal studies show that lycopene causes a decrease in glucose levels, increases insulin concentration, and reduces cholesterol levels.[10] A clinical study suggests that lycopene reduced the risk of diabetic retinopathy (damage to the eyes) in patients with diabetes.[11]

Watermelon For High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and premature death.[12] Both amino acids, citrulline and arginine, help in the production of nitric oxide, a gas that causes tiny muscles surrounding the blood vessels to relax and dilate. This helps in reducing blood pressure.[13]

Eating watermelon or drinking watermelon juice reduces pressure and stiffness of arteries in people with high blood pressure.[14,15,16,17]

How To Take It

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1. Tarazona-Díaz MP, Viegas J, Moldao-Martins M, Aguayo E. Bioactive compounds from flesh and by-product of fresh-cut watermelon cultivars. J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Mar 30;91(5):805-12. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4250. PubMed PMID: 21384347.

2. Rimando AM, Perkins-Veazie PM. Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind. J Chromatogr A. 2005 Jun 17;1078(1-2):196-200. PubMed PMID: 16007998.

3. Wu G, Meininger CJ, Knabe DA, Bazer FW, Rhoads JM. Arginine nutrition in development, health and disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2000 Jan;3(1):59-66. Review. PubMed PMID: 10642085.

4. Collins JK, Wu G, Perkins-Veazie P, Spears K, Claypool PL, Baker RA, Clevidence BA. Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Nutrition. 2007 Mar;23(3):261-6. PubMed PMID: 17352962.

5. Flynn NE, Meininger CJ, Haynes TE, Wu G. The metabolic basis of arginine nutrition and pharmacotherapy. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Nov;56(9):427-38. Review. PubMed PMID: 12481979.

6. Di Mascio P, Kaiser S, Sies H. Lycopene as the most efficient biological carotenoid singlet oxygen quencher. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1989 Nov 1;274(2):532-8. PubMed PMID: 2802626.

7. Miller NJ, Sampson J, Candeias LP, Bramley PM, Rice-Evans CA. Antioxidant activities of carotenes and xanthophylls. FEBS Lett. 1996 Apr 22;384(3):240-2. PubMed PMID: 8617362.

8. Böhm V, Puspitasari-Nienaber NL, Ferruzzi MG, Schwartz SJ. Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity of different geometrical isomers of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jan 2;50(1):221-6. PubMed PMID: 11754571.

9. Y. Tadmor, S. King, A. Levi, A. Davis, A. Meir, B. Wasserman, J. Hirschberg, E. Lewinsohn. Comparative fruit coloration in watermelon and tomato. Food Research International, Volume 38, Issues 8–9, October–November 2005, Pages 837-841

10. Ali MM, Agha FC. Amelioration of streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus, oxidative stress and dyslipidemia in rats by tomato extract lycopene. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2009;69(3):371-379.

11. Suzuki K, Ito Y, Nakamura S, Ochiai J, Aoki K. Relationship between serum carotenoids and hyperglycemia: a population-based cross-sectional study. J Epidemiol. 2002;12(5):357-366.

12. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, Cushman WC, Dennison-Himmelfarb C, Handler J, Lackland DT, LeFevre ML, MacKenzie TD, Ogedegbe O, Smith SC Jr, Svetkey LP, Taler SJ, Townsend RR, Wright JT Jr, Narva AS, Ortiz E. 2014 evidence-based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014 Feb 5;311(5):507-20. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.284427. Erratum in: JAMA. 2014 May 7;311(17):1809. PubMed PMID: 24352797.

13. Hord NG. Dietary nitrates, nitrites, and cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2011 Dec;13(6):484-92. doi: 10.1007/s11883-011-0209-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 21968645.

14. Figueroa A, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Perkins-Veazie PM, Arjmandi BH. Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic blood pressure and wave reflection in individuals with prehypertension: a pilot study. Am J Hypertens. 2011 Jan;24(1):40-4. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2010.142. Epub 2010 Jul 8. PubMed PMID: 20616787.

15. Figueroa A, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Wong A, Arjmandi BH. Watermelon extract supplementation reduces ankle blood pressure and carotid augmentation index in obese adults with prehypertension or hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2012
Jun;25(6):640-3. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2012.20. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PubMed PMID: 22402472.

16. Figueroa A, Wong A, Kalfon R. Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic hemodynamic responses to the cold pressor test in obese hypertensive adults. Am J Hypertens. 2014 Jul;27(7):899-906. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpt295. Epub 2014 Feb 26. PubMed PMID: 24572702.

17. Figueroa A, Wong A, Hooshmand S, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA. Effects of watermelon supplementation on arterial stiffness and wave reflection amplitude in postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2013 May;20(5):573-7. doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182733794. PubMed PMID: 23615650

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.