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Eating Watermelon Could Lower Blood Pressure in Overweight Individuals

Apr 04, 2014 03:37 PM EDT
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Watermelon just scored another sweet victory. New research suggests the juicy fruit can significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals.

Writing in the American Journal of Hypertension, researchers report that watermelon can lower blood pressure in some patients whether they are at rest or under stress.

Florida State University professor Arturo Figueroa led the study. Figueroa found that after consuming watermelon extract the pressure on the aorta and heart is reduced in some patients.

Inspiration for the study came from the fact that most people die from heart attacks in cold weather because the cold causes the heart to work harder to pump blood into the aorta, often leading to less blood flow to the heart. This puts people already at risk for heart attacks or strokes - including people with high blood pressure or obesity - at a greater risk.

Figueroa recruited 13 middle-aged obese men and women who also suffered from high blood pressure to participate in a 12-week study. Subjects were asked to not make any significant changes to their diet, exercise or lifestyle for the duration of the study. The 12 participants were divided into two groups. Half of the people were given an extract of amino acids found in watermelon, while the other group members were given a placebo. After six weeks, the groups switched.

After measuring the patients blood pressure at rest and in a "stressed" environment where the patients' hands were placed in icy water, Figueroa found that consuming watermelon had a positive impact on aortic blood pressure and other vascular parameters.

The find adds to a growing list of the positive health benefits of consuming watermelon.

Another recent study found that watermelon juice can relieve post-exercise muscle fatigue.

A previous study by Figueroa also examined how watermelon impacts post-menopausal women's arterial function and the blood pressure readings of adults with pre-hypertension.

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