It goes without saying that watermelon juice is refreshing thirst quencher, the perfect drink to beat the summer heat!
Now, a new study claims the sweet and delicious juice may be the ideal drink for athletes.
According to researchers, drinking watermelon juice can relieve muscle soreness after strenuous activities.
Previous studies have established that watermelon juice has the potential to increase muscle protein and enhance athletic performance, because of its antioxidant properties.
The new study was designed to explore the effectiveness of L-citrulline, an amino acid found naturally in watermelon juice, which apparently improves blood flow and builds protein in muscles.
Lead researcher, Encarna Aguayo at the Technical University of Cartagena, in Spain and his team tested the impact of natural watermelon juice and watermelon juice enriched in L-citrulline and a control drink sans L-citrulline on volunteers.
Athletes were randomly assigned to drink 500ml of watermelon juice or a placebo drink an hour before exercising. It was noted that the natural juice and the enriched juice helped alleviate muscle soreness. However, the unpasteurized natural watermelon juice is best bet because of high levels of bioavailable L-citrulline.
The researchers are ambiguous about what causes the L-citrulline in the watermelon juice to relieve post exercise fatigue. They theorize that the naturally occurring chemicals in it speed up the process of lactic acid removal which can cause a burning sensation in the muscles and make them sore.
“Watermelon juice, naturally rich in l-citrulline, is an excellent option for athletes who want to improve their sports performance,” the authors say.
The report is published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.