Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Tips: A slice of watermelon for your blood pressure?

Image: Piyachok Thawornmat /
If you're like me and have a family history of hypertension, you may want to consider adding a regular serving of watermelon to your diet.

Recent studies show that an amino acid, L-Citrulline, commonly found in watermelon can help improve circulation and decrease systolic blood pressure in prehypertensive individuals. The participants of the study experienced an average decrease of nine points in their systolic blood pressure.

It doesn't seem like a significant decrease, but it's enough to prevent someone from full-blown hypertension. In addition to this decrease, the participants experienced a improvement in their arterial blood flow compared to the placebo group.

So how does this L-Citrulline work?

When your body digests L-Citrulline, it's converted to another amino acid that is a key ingredient to your body's production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide in your body causes your arteries open and relax, helping blood flow more easily.