Just in time for July 4: Watermelon gets a sexed-up new PR campaign.
If Bob Dole’s dance card isn’t full these days, he might consider being a pitch man for watermelon as a follow-up to his stint as the, er, face of Viagra. According to a group of scientists from Texas (perhaps unsurprisingly one of the country’s top watermelon-producing states) has discovered that the picnic-friendly fruit contains a substance called citrulline that’s similar to the active ingredient found in the famous little blue pill. But sorry, guys, it’s not quite as “organ-specific” as Viagra, as one researcher puts it.
AP via Google News:
A slice of cool, fresh watermelon is a juicy way to top off a Fourth of July cookout and one that researchers say has effects similar to Viagra—but don’t necessarily expect it to keep the fireworks all night long.
Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra, said scientists in Texas, one of the nation’s top producers of the seedless variety.
Found in the flesh and rind of watermelons, citrulline reacts with the body’s enzymes when consumed in large quantities and is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.
“Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,” said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. “Watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects.”