Watermelon juice's reputation among athletes is getting
scientific support in a new study, which found that juice from the fruit can relieve post-exercise muscle soreness.
The report in ACS'
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry attributes watermelon's effects to
the amino acid L-citrulline.
Encarna Aguayo and colleagues cite past research on
watermelon juice's antioxidant properties and its potential to increase muscle
protein and enhance athletic performance.
But scientists had yet to explore the effectiveness of
watermelon juice drinks enriched in L-citrulline. Aguayo's team set out to fill
that gap in knowledge.
They tested natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice
enriched in L-citrulline and a control drink containing no L-citrulline on
volunteers an hour before exercise. Both the natural juice and the enriched juice relieved
muscle soreness in the volunteers. L-citrulline in the natural juice
(unpasteurized), however, seemed to be more bioavailable – in a form the body
could better use, the study found.