We wish all of our US readers a Happy 4th. Today's post might be a little late for this weekend's festivities, but it'll certainly be of value throughout the summer. It turns out that watermelon isn't just a fun summer fruit -- it contains certain chemicals that might help ensure some fireworks in the bedroom.
Apparently watermelons contain citrulline, a chemical which can trigger the body's blood vessels to relax. According to scientists at Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center, this is similar to the reaction a man has when he takes Viagra.
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." Todd Wehner, who studies watermelon breeding at North Carolina State University, said anyone taking Viagra shouldn't expect the same result from watermelon.
"It sounds like it would be an effect that would be interesting but not a substitute for any medical treatment," Wehner said.
Don't look to watermelon to actually replace those little blue pills however, as you probably need about 6 cups of watermelon to ingest enough of the chemical to see any effects. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who's buying lots of watermelon at the farmer's market this weekend.