Watermelon Juice

Pure Summer Refreshment

Watermelon makes a cool refreshing, low calorie juice, and is especially satisfying to drink outdoors and at parties during the hot summer months. And, since the watermelon is over 90% water, one large melon can make a lot of juice. But just because it’s mostly water, doesn’t mean it’s short on nutrition. In fact, this red food is a lycopene superstar.  The protective carotenoid lycopene is normally associated with ripe, red, tomatoes, but, lycopene content in watermelon ranks right along side in many comparisons. Plus watermelon provides a good source of vitamin A. To maximize absorption, lycopene should be consumed with some good fats. Maybe this is why watermelon seeds coincidentally contain a wide array of god fats.  Hmm, mother nature.

Juicing the Rind and Seeds

With a juicer, no part of the watermelon has to go to waste. The rind and seeds can be juiced for a boost of nutrition. While the rind is not as sweet tasting as the flesh, it can be juiced. Just be aware that juicing the rind may affect the taste and color of the final product.  Serving your guests greenish watermelon juice may not be the best use of the rind. If your watermelon is non-organic, peeling the green skin may also be a good idea. I personally never juice the skin because I feel that it changes the taste too much.  No matter what, for good food handling practices, just be sure to wash your watermelon thoroughly before slicing and juicing.

Taste Combinations

Watermelons are one of those fruits that are best juiced alone. You can add a little ginger or mint, but adding other juices is not often a good idea.

Loaded with L-Citrulline

Watermelons are one of the few foods that provide a rich bio-available source of citrulline. Most parts of the watermelon contain this non-essential amino acid. The highest amounts of citrulline are found in the rind.

Circulatory Benefits, L-Arginine, and Erectile Dysfunction

Citrulline is reported to have some cardiovascular and circulatory benefits. When consumed, the human body uses citrulline to make the amino acid arginine. Your body can make its own citrulline, which is why this amino acid is called non-essential.  Adding citrulline to the diet has shown to cause increased plasma levels of arginine, which is believed to help muscular blood flow and plays a key role in nitric oxide production. Men with erectile dysfunction are probably familiar with nitric oxide, because most ED medicines act by enhancing signals through the nitric oxide pathway. It appears that because citrulline has different absorption mechanisms, supplementing with citrulline, might in some cases increases arginine levels better than supplementing with arginine itself, at least from the standpoint of oral dosages.

A Word of Caution

Since I’m more of a pessimist, my concerns are with the down side of consuming citrulline and the increased levels of arginine and ornithine that might activate and fuel certain types of herpes viruses. Since many, if not most people have some form of human herpes virus, any large increases of arginine, ornithine and citrulline might be detrimental. I think our understanding of the larger implications of  these viruses is still unknown. I’m not suggesting that watermelon juice will cause a re-occurrence of herpes, but, I know that eating certain foods high in arginine can be a trigger for the virus. Since juice is really concentrated nutrition, a person might be exposed to more of a certain nutrient in juice than if that same food was eaten in whole form. Juice responsibly.

 

References

  • Rimando AM, Perkins-Veazie PM. Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind. J Chromatogr A. 2005 Jun 17;1078(1-2):196-200. PMID: 16007998.
  • Collins JK, Wu G, Perkins-Veazie P, Spears K, Claypool PL, Baker RA, Clevidence BA. Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults. Nutrition. 2007 Mar;23(3):261-6. PMID: 17352962.

About Chris Bede

With great interest in health topics, I research the latest trends in nutrition. Besides juicing daily, I'm currently a fan of the paleo diet. I may be the second largest consumer of grass-fed butter. You can follow me on twitter @cbede.