The Health Benefits of Watermelon. Watermelon Helps Lower Blood Pressure and Improves Circulation, L-citrulline, a natural substance in watermelon, has been shown to improve artery function and lower blood pressure by helping blood vessels relax.
In a 2014 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, athletes who consumed 16 ounces of watermelon juice an hour before exercise experienced reduced muscle soreness and a quicker heart rate recovery compared to those who received a placebo drink.
Another study on male runners, published in a 2017 issue of Food & Nutrition Research, found that those who drank 16 ounces of watermelon juice enriched in L-citrulline two hours before performing half-marathon races had less perceived muscle soreness for up to 72 hours compared to those who downed a placebo beverage.
Watermelon is one of the best sources of lycopene, according to a 2014 study in Experimental and Clinical Sciences. Lycopene is an antioxidant known to combat oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to counter their harmful effects. The protection lycopene provides reduces the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. For the most lycopene, opt for traditional pink flesh watermelon, which contains more antioxidants than yellow and orange varieties.