Report: Watermelons good for heart and health

Lexington Herald-LeaderOctober 31, 2011 

Watermelon: It's not just for summer picnics any more. University of Kentucky researchers have been studying the fruit's juice and results show that it may be good for keeping your weight down and your heart strong.

Sibu Saha, lead investigator on UK's project, cautions that consumers should not storm grocery stores and start juicing watermelons but should continue to eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

UK's research showed that lab mice with diet-induced high cholesterol fed a beverage of watermelon juice versus those fed with water showed a decrease in fat mass, plaque formation and cholesterol level. They also had fewer atherosclerosic lesions — in which the artery wall thickens because of fatty materials such as cholesterol.

A 2010 study at Florida State University that showed watermelon-associated improvement in prehypertensive patients gave UK researchers some ideas for how such a melon study might be structured, Saha said. He got the idea to research watermelon while visiting India and seeing an unharvested crop of watermelon, which remained in the field because the melons cost too much to gather and transport.

Someone then mentioned to him that the melons were good for lowering blood pressure.

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