Watermelons are favorite summer fruits that are loaded with antioxidants. Previous research touted watermelons as being high in lycopene, an antioxidant associated with heart, prostate, and skin health.
Now this sweet treat might be something you serve on Valentine's Day, too. Researchers at Texas A & M University have found that watermelons have ingredients that deliver a Viagra-like effect to the body's blood vessels and may increase libido. Besides being high in lycopene, watermelons have been discovered to contain another antioxidant called citrulline. It partners with the amino acid arginine to potentially improve heart health and the immune system, and it may also help with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and perhaps erectile dysfunction. Citrulline helps relax blood vessels, similar to the effect of Viagra.
The majority of the citrulline compound is located in the watermelon rind, so plant breeders are working to create varieties that have higher amounts of citrulline in the edible portion of the fruit.
For more information on this research, go to: Texas A & M AgriLife.
Article published on July 30, 2008.