STUDY Watermelons may help prevent heart attacks and weight gain

Researchers including one of Indian origin have suggested that a daily slice of watermelon could help prevent heart disease by halting the build-up of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Scientists who carried out the study on mice, which were fed a high-fat diet, found that the fruit halved the rate at which ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) accumulated.

LDL is a form of cholesterol that leads to clogged arteries and heart disease. Researchers from Purdue University in the US also found that eating watermelon regularly helped to control weight gain and results in fewer fatty deposits inside the blood vessels. They believe the secret to watermelon’s health-boosting properties lies in citrulline, a chemical found in the juice.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) has the job of transporting cholesterol back to the liver to be safely disposed of. The latest study suggests that watermelon juice could help. Researchers fed two groups of mice a high-fat diet but gave one, water to drink and, the other, watermelon juice. “We didn’t see a lowering of blood pressure. But these other changes are promising,” the Daily Mail quoted research leader Dr. Shubin Saha as saying.

“We know that watermelon is good for health because it contains citrulline. We don’t know yet at what molecular level it’s working and that’s the next step,” he added.