Tallahassee, FL—The most famous summer picnic fruit is now found to have positive benefits for health. A study conducted by food scientists at Florida State University found that watermelon can help support healthy blood pressure levels.

The six-week, nine-subject study indicated that daily doses of L-citrulline/L-arginine (6 grams) from watermelon extract helped improve arterial function, thus lowering blood pressure. This finding suggests that watermelon extract may prevent pre-hypertension from progressing to hypertension, a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Watermelon is said to be the richest edible source of L-citrulline, which is closely related to L-arginine. L-arginine is the amino acid that is required for making nitric oxide, which is essential to healthy blood pressure. Watermelon is a good source of vitamin A, B6, C, fiber, potassium and lycopene.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2010 (online 11/1/10)