We all get sore after a good workout. While stretching is necessary, we should also be mindful of the food we’re putting into our body post-workout. Watermelon is deliciously refreshing but can it help with soreness? Michael T. Murray, author of THE MAGIC OF FOOD, shares why we should eat more watermelon.
While medicine has focused primarily on watermelon’s diuretic effects, research indicates that drinking watermelon juice is a postworkout remedy that can help reduce muscle soreness.
Watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid citrulline, which the human body converts to arginine and nitric oxide, a key regulator of blood flow. Available as a dietary supplement, citrulline is showing benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, fatigue, muscle weakness, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Many of these effects are also achieved with arginine supplementation. The advantage of citrulline over arginine is that it provides a more prolonged boost in blood arginine levels. The same may be true of watermelon juice.
In a small study conducted at a Spanish university, researchers monitored seven athletes after they exerted maximum effort on a stationary bike. On different days, the athletes were supplied with 500 ml of natural watermelon juice (1.17 grams of citrulline), enriched watermelon juice (4.83 grams of citrulline plus 1.17 grams from watermelon), or a placebo. Results showed that both of the watermelon juices helped to reduce the recovery heart rate and muscle soreness after twenty-four hours compared to the placebo.
The study seems to indicate that the citrulline from watermelon may be better absorbed or utilized than that from a supplement. In another part of the study, the researchers used a laboratory model to compare the absorption of citrulline from unpasteurized or pasteurized watermelon juice compared to citrulline as a supplement. The result showed that the bioavailability of citrulline was greater in the raw juice than either the pasteurized juice or the solution containing citrulline. These results show the advantage of drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
Watermelon is cooling and refreshing. Eat pieces of watermelon or juice it with other ingredients.
When you’re sore it’s important that you give yourself proper recovery time. We’ve rounded up a few workout tips to try when you’re sore.
Excerpted from The Magic of Food by Michael T. Murray, ND. Copyright © 2017 by Michael T. Murray, ND. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.