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Powerful Duo Found in Watermelon May Provide Heart Health Benefits

A study conducted by food scientists at Florida State University recently found that certain compounds found in watermelons may help you avoid pre-hypertension. The study was published in the October 2010 issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

For the study, the Florida based researchers gave 9 participants a daily supplement containing 6 grams of a watermelon extract called L-citrulline over the course of 6 weeks. All of the participants had pre-hypertension which is early stage high blood pressure.

After 6 weeks, the participants all saw improvements in their pre-hypertension, measured by aortic blood pressure and pulse wave reflection, which are better markers of cardiovascular risk than the usual brachial blood pressure readings.

These preliminary findings are encouraging, noted the researchers, and align with previous research which has found that L-citrulline appears to improve blood flow.

Although the science backing L-citulline is still in its early stages, another compound found in watermelon called Lycopene has received an abundance of scientific evidence backing its benefits.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which helps neutralize harmful free radicals. It is a red pigment found in a number of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.Lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate and osteoporosis benefits.

These new findings show that watermelons may back more of a heart health punch then previously thought due to their lycopene and L-citrulline content.

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