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Watermelons: A Natural Viagra?

Saturday, March 01, 2008
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Though a large portion of the fruit, almost 92% of it is water, the remaining 8% is loaded with lycopene, a phyto-chemical that protects your heart, prostrate and skin health.

New research from United States Dept of Agricultural Research Service laboratory in Maryland  have found that watermelons, particularly the deep red variety are found to have more lycopene than even tomatoes. While studies find that tomatoes need to be cooked to get the maximum absorption, raw watermelon appears to give the same lycopene boost. It was reported that a 180 gram (6.3 ounce) serving of watermelon is said to provide between 8 and 20 mg of lycopene, making it a rich source of the carotenoid which is even better when eaten at room temperature. (Best around 69.8°F/ 21°C temperature).

Lycopene also found in foods like apricots, papaya, pink grape fruit, guavas and red berries is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in preventing cancers of the colon, prostrate and rectum, as well as preventing heart diseases and Macular degeneration of the eye.

With regards to Men's health and fertility comes the most exciting news yet:
The Indian Association of Urologists (after conducting numerous research studies) states that lycopene has been found to enhance male fertility by improving both sperm concentration/count and motility.

The white rind, just below the red pulp, is tasteless and normally gets discarded. Research has pointed out that it is important, in that it contains a non essential amino acid called Citrulline, which gets converted to Arginine within the body. Studies have shown that plasma levels of citrulline were highest in subjects who consumed six cups of watermelon juice per day.

Arginine is used in the body's urea cycle, as a detoxifier. With the help of the cells lining our blood vessels arginine converts ammonia to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is not only a vasodilator (relaxes blood vessels and thereby lowers high blood pressure), but also prevents erectile dysfunction, thus providing a gentler, milder and more natural Viagra, a Viagra with fewer side effects. **
The other known benefits of Arginine are
1.    Improve insulin sensitivity in obese type 2 diabetic patients with insulin resistance,
2.    Normalizes blood sugar levels
3.    Lowers blood pressure,
4.     Improves vascular disorders associated with sickle-cell disease
5.     Improves immune function,
6.     Helps rapid wound healing,
7.     Helps reduce growth of cancerous tumors and impotency to name a few.
 
With both the White rind and the red pulp of watermelon, synergistically giving these additional benefits for better sexual health in men, let's start of the hot summer season with a fruit that is easily available and affordable.

As the white rind is edible but tasteless we have a few recipes at the end of the article that could be tried to begin with and gradually you could get more creative.
     
**  Report in Times of India, Bangalore edition, January 25th 2008,  page 17.
    Warning, Viagra can affect men's fertility - Studies have shown that use of Viagra made the sperms more active but they also destroyed the head (acrosome) thereby penetration and fertilization of egg could not take place.

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NUTRITIONVISTA RECIPE'S USING THE WHITE RIND OF A WATERMELON
Tarbuz ki sabzi (Watermelon cooked as a vegetable)
Ingredients
•    White rind of watermelon, cubed - 2 cups
•    Tomatoes, chopped                        1 cup,                      
•    Onions                                            2 medium, sliced  
•    Green chillies                                 1, slit  
•    Ginger                                            ½ inch knob, grated
•    Cumin seeds                                   ½ tsp
•    Black pepper                                   ¼ tsp
•    Red chilly powder                          ¼ tsp
•    Oil                                                  1 tsp
•    Salt                                                 to taste
•    Coriander leaves/celery           ¼ cup chopped  

Method
•    Heat the oil in a Wok/Kadai.
•    Splutter cumin seeds; add green chilly, ginger grated.
•    Add onion, Sauté till it becomes translucent
•    Add Tomatoes, salt, chilly powder and pepper powder, sauté well
•    Add Cubes of the white rind and ½ cup of water
•    Cover and cook for a few minutes
•    Garnish with coriander leaves or celery
•    Serve hot with roti's or rice.
_____________________________________

Tarbuz Panna (Refreshing, Tangy Watermelon Slushie)

Ingredients: 
•    1 cup  thick Tarbuz (watermelon) pulp
•    1/2 cup water
•    ½ lime
•    Sugar or Salt and pepper to taste
 
Method:

•    Put all the ingredients in a juicer and blend it well.
•    Serve it chilled in a tall glass with a celery stalk if required
 
____________________________________________________________________________

References:
1.    Jian L., Lee AH. and Binns CW. Tea and lycopene protect against prostate cancer. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007, 16 Suppl 453-7.Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Jian L, Lee AH, et al.)
2.    Lucotti P,  Setola E, et al "Beneficial effects of a long-term oral L-arginine treatment added to a  hypo caloric diet and exercise training program in obese, insulin-resistant type 2 diabetic patients' ; Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov;291(5):E906-12. Epub 2006 Jun 13.
3.    Want Citrulline? Try Watermelon; Science Daily (Aug. 15, 2007)
4.    MAKE WHOOPEE WITH WATERMELON. Fruit Enhances Male Virility and Fertility. Nutrition News: Dole Nutrition Institute, July 26th 2004  
5.    The George Mateljan Foundation' The Worlds healthiest foods; http://www.whfoods.com
6.    Wada, M. (1930). " Ber Citrullin, eine neue Aminos ure im Presssaft der Wassermelone, Citrullus vulgaris Schrad." Biochem. Zeit. 224: 420.
7.    Nelson, D. L.; Cox, M. M. "Lehninger, Principles of Biochemistry" 3rd Ed.Worth Publishing: New York, 2000. ISBN 1-57259-153-6.
8.    Perkins-Veazie, P. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Aug. 9, 2006; vol 54. News release, American Chemical Society.
9.     P. Perkins-Veazie, J. K. Collins, B. Clevidence, WATERMELONS AND HEALTH, ISHS Acta Horticulturae 731: III International Symposium on Cucurbits


By. V.Iyengar, K.Saggi, Dietitians,
NutritionVista.com


 

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User Comments

31 October, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar One more reason to enjoy the luscious fruit especially when in season. In a recent study by University of Kentucky researchers, watermelon was shown to reduce atherosclerosis in animals, showing promise for humans.

05 June, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Thats right, Reema. Watermelons are a rich source of lycopene. Infact tomatoes in the cooked form are also very rich in lycopene.
Poonam Vaswani
Dietitian
NutritionVista.com

05 June, 2010 | Reema | Reply

Reema Hi,
Its interesting to know that watermelon has so much of lycopene content

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