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Watermelon Extract May Help Lower Blood Pressure

The stress of cold temperatures causes blood pressure to increase and the heart to pump harder, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke in cold weather. A recent study suggests that a watermelon extract could lower blood pressure in overweight people under stress.

Participants in the study included 13 middle-aged overweight or obese men and women with high blood pressure. The participants were instructed to place one hand in 39-degree water while the researchers took their blood pressure.

The group was then divided in two, with one group instructed to take four grams of the amino acid L-citrulline and two grams of L-arginine daily for six weeks. Both of those amino acids come from watermelon extract. The other half of the group took a placebo.

Following the initial six weeks, the participants underwent the opposite intervention. During the study period, none of them took blood pressure medication nor were they allowed to make any diet or exercise lifestyle changes.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the watermelon extract improved aortic blood pressure and other vascular perimeters, both when the participants’ hearts were at rest and when they were stressed by the cold water.

Researchers from Florida State University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 26, 2014, in American Journal of Hypertension.

Watermelon is also rich in antioxidants and numerous studies have shown it to be good for heart health. It has also been shown to be good for reducing the risk of colon cancer, asthma, arthritis and prostate cancer.

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