Researchers discover new health benefits of watermelon

Sliced ​​Watermelon

New research shows that watermelon improves overall diet quality and heart health by increasing nutrient intake, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, and reducing added sugars and saturated fatty acids. Another study suggests that watermelon juice supplementation may protect vascular function, potentially supporting cardio-metabolic health.

Two new studies explore the relationship between watermelon consumption and improved eating habits in both children and adults, as well as the impact of watermelon juice on cardio-metabolic health.

Watermelon is unquestionably a tasty and nutrient-rich fruit. Now, new research further illuminates its vital role in improving diet quality and supporting heart health.

A recent study published in Nutrients suggests that watermelon may improve nutrient absorption and overall diet quality in both children and adults. This research, based on data analysis from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), found that overall diet quality was significantly better in people who consumed watermelon than in those who didn’t.

According to the study, children and adult watermelon consumers had higher intakes of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as lycopene and other carotenoids, while having lower intakes of added sugars and total saturated fatty acids. Research analyst and study author Kristen Fulgoni will present the research findings at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, taking place July 22-25, 2023 in Boston.

In addition to the NHANES study, another new study has also been published on Nutrients it builds on previous work in this research area to demonstrate that watermelon juice supplementation protects vascular function during hyperglycemia.

Conducted at Louisiana State University, this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study testing the effects of 2 weeks of daily watermelon juice supplementation specifically examined the potential beneficial modulating effects of L-citrulline and L- arginine two compounds found in watermelon on nitric oxide bioavailability and heart rate variability. Both studies were funded by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

We acknowledge that while the sample size was small (18 healthy young men and women) and more research is needed, this study adds to the current body of evidence supporting regular watermelon intake for cardio-metabolic health. In addition to L-citrulline and L-arginine, watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C and lycopene, which may help reduce oxidative stress and play a role in heart disease prevention, said Dr. Jack Losso, Ph.D., professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit per day, and currently, US adults and children fall short of this goal by getting only about half the recommended serving of fruit each day. Watermelon is a nutrient-rich fruit and a great source of Vitamin C (25% DV), a source of Vitamin B6 (8% DV), and a delicious way to stay hydrated (92% water), with only 80 calories for 2 – serve by the cup.

Thoughts of juicy watermelon at your next barbecue or outdoor gathering likely conjure up memories of enjoying the perfectly ripe fruit summers past. The reality is that watermelon can be enjoyed at any time thanks to the diversity of climates that allow its production throughout the year. Whether you’re waiting for the first signs of summer to enjoy watermelon or you don’t let this new nutritional research prompt you to include watermelon as part of your balanced diet.

References:

Watermelon intake is associated with higher nutrient intake and better diet quality in adults and children, NHANES 20032018 by Kristin Fulgoni and Victor L. Fulgoni III November 18, 2022, Nutrients.
DOI: 10.3390/nu14224883

The effect of watermelon juice supplementation on heart rate variability and metabolic response during an oral glucose challenge: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study by Rachel Matthews, Kate S. Early, Cullen M. Vincelette, Jack Losso, Guillaume Spielmann, Brian A. Irving, and Timothy D. Allerton, February 4, 2023, Nutrients.
DOI: 10.3390/nu15040810

The research was funded by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.


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