Juicing Up

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 14 | Modified: May. 14
Juicing Up

A new study will examine the health benefits of drinking watermelon juice.

Photo submitted

A collaborative experiment between researchers with Appalachian State and N.C. State universities will examine the health benefits of drinking watermelon juice.

Researchers are currently seeking approximately 30 local women to take part in the study for $200.
Prospective volunteers should be between the ages of 50 to 75, overweight and post-menopausal. They should also be nonsmokers and currently not taking hypertension medication.

Andrew Shanely, an assistant professor from ASU’s College of Health Sciences, said watermelon juice became the focus of the experiment after he and another colleague discovered the high content of naturally occurring juices.

As it turns out, watermelon juice is as healthy for athletes during exercise as Gatorade or any other nationally branded sport beverage.

Watermelon juice is also rich in amino acids and antioxidants, Shanely said.

“A research group at Florida State University recently looked to use watermelon juice to treat high blood pressure and stage one hypertension,” Shanely said. “It has also demonstrated to reduce blood pressure and changes in stiffness in blood vessels, which means it is a marker of blood vessel health. The juice also increased the flexibility of blood vessels.”

When examining cardiovascular health, Shanely used the comparison of one’s arm falling asleep and the reintroduction of blood, which creates a pins and needles sensation when blood flow is cut off and allowed to flow freely back into the forearm.

The quicker that the blood flow is reintroduced in the arm is a good indicator of cardiovascular health, and Shanely believes watermelon juice can help with that.

Through the experiment, researchers will also take blood samples and examine the antioxidant capacity of blood.

“We will look at other markers lesser known that have a high association with cardiovascular disease,” Shanely said. “We will look at these markers before supplementation of watermelon juice and after.”

Researchers have found similar results in the consumption of bananas after working out.

“The interesting thing about watermelon is it’s not just the sugar content, but in terms of everyday health, I believe the amino acids will have a real beneficial effect in this particular group of people,” Shanely said.

Altogether, the study will examine the effects of watermelon juice on 60 women. The study is scheduled to begin the first week in June, at which time participants will come in to discuss their body mass index and to see if they qualify.

At that time, they will receive their supply of juice. A follow-up visit will occur during the week of July 14.

To sign up, contact Shanely at (shanelyra@appstate.edu) or (704) 340-3976.

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