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article imageWatermelon juice helps aching muscles

By Kirstin Stokes Smith     Jul 26, 2013 in Science
Cartagena - A research team from Spain has discovered a potential new sports drink: watermelon juice. In a study investigating the effects of watermelon juice on athletes the researchers found drinking watermelon juice pre-workout reduced muscle soreness.
Their findings were published on July 17, 2013 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Their study also showed that watermelon juice can reduce recovery heart rates in athletes who drank 16.9 oz of watermelon juice.
The key ingredient in watermelon juice is L-citrulline, which is recognized in the science community as an “uncommon amino acid.” Chemical and Engineering News interviewed research team member Encarna Aguayo about the project and she told them that scientists in Spain were aware of the antioxidant properties of L-citrulline. Now, she says, they are seeing that when it is taken in supplement form, L-citrulline "accelerates removal of lactic acid from muscles, allowing for more intense training and faster recovery." Knowing this the researcher from Technical University of Cartagena wanted to test watermelons to determine if the fruit’s juice could be used as a sports drink.
The next stage of the study involved juicing watermelons and measuring the concentration of L-citrulline in pasteurized and unpasteurized juices. The researchers recruited seven men who were athletic, but not competitive. The men were asked to drink 16.9 oz of one of three beverages – watermelon juice with 1.17 g of L-citrulline, watermelon juice enriched to 5 g of L-citrulline, or a pink, fruity drink without watermelon. After drinking the beverage the men cycled strenuously taking rest breaks for 11 minutes. The following day the men who had consumed the watermelon juice reported no leg soreness and those who drank the pink drink were sore.
Testing watermelon juice is not complete. Aguayo says she will fine-tune her tests, playing with different levels of L-citrulline in watermelon juice with the goal of finding "the optimal concentration for the prevention of muscle fatigue," reports Chemical and Engineering News
Watermelon has also proven itself among researchers to be effective in reducing blood pressure and improving arterial health, while the seeds are high in protein, reports Green Med Info.
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