-by Carly Salzberg | 01/06/2017 |
“Almost one-third of Americans drink at least one sugar-laden soda or other sweetened drink every day,” according to a recent CDC report (source below). Sugary sodas and energy drinks continue to be preferred over healthier choices, which results in people adding unnecessary sugar to their diet while not meeting their recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water for the day. However, refreshing and yet subtly sweet with a 92 percent water content, watermelon juice has been trending among health enthusiasts for not only its subtle taste, but also for its long list of health benefits. It’s the perfect pre and post-workout drink, an ideal replacement for alcoholic beverages and a natural stimulant, re-energizing your cardiovascular system and sustaining your energy throughout the day.
On the other hand, deceivingly marketed sports drinks represent one of the many kinds of sugary drinks that consumers prefer to overindulge in. According to one major sports drink’s website, the drink was “born in the lab” when researchers looked at “why athletes were falling ill after strenuous exercise in the heat.” They found that these athletes were not only dehydrated; they lost vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium as well as fluid with exertion, without replacing them. Therefore, sports drinks were developed for athletes and people who perform high intensity cardio workouts like long distance running to replace this deficiency with a “carbohydrate-electrolyte balance” as described by their marketing team. However, let’s be honest: most people who consume these drinks on a regular basis are not active athletes. They are at best “hungover” and may use some of the 50+ grams of sugar per 32 oz bottle of a regular sports drink but they haven’t exerted that much energy to really need the extra carbohydrates and sugar. Watermelon juice, on the other hand, is a great alternative to a sugary drink because it's packed with a wallop of antioxidants, nutrients and vital amino acids without the unnecessary added sugar.
According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes’ heart rates and next-day muscle soreness. Seven participants of the study, all men, were given 17 ounces (500 mL) of either natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice enriched with additional citrulline, or a placebo drink one hour before their workouts. As it turns out, the natural watermelon juice was just as effective as the enriched juice at rehydrating athletes and replenishing their lost nutrients. The researchers determined that our intestinal cells can absorb more citrulline from watermelon juice than from citrulline supplements, especially when the juice is unpasteurized. That's because watermelon is rich in L-citrulline, an essential amino acid that our bodies convert to L-arginine, aiding to help relax our blood vessels and improve circulation. Positive implications of this research regarding watermelon juice on our circulatory and cardiovascular system may result in improving our blood pressure, clearing our skin, remedying our bladder problems and constipation as well as preventing prostate cancer and reducing the risk of heart attacks. Italian scientists have even coined the ginormous juicy fruit, “nature’s Viagra” after concluding in the journal Urology that citrulline is found to improve blood flow to the penis without the side effects of Viagra.
So before you reach for your sports drink, remember this, if you choose to drink watermelon juice instead, you are giving your body a natural cleanse, alkalizing your system, keeping it diuretic, and mineralizing it of toxic wastes by promoting effective circulation and intestinal elimination. Not only is the juice delicious, it is easily digestible and completely absorbed for all its worth, providing internal healing to the body on a microbial level.
Top 10 Benefits:
Reduces body fat
Helps control blood pressure
Hydrates the body
Keeps kidneys healthy
Prevents heart disease
Prevents cancer cells with antioxidants
Boosts energy levels
Naturally improves erectile dysfunction
My Refreshing Watermelon Juice Recipe:
- 5 cups of large watermelons chunks
- 8 fresh mint leaves
- Large handful of ice
- 2 cups of coconut water or plain purified water
- Bonus: This recipe would also make delicious popsicles -- just pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
- Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, New York University Medical Center, New York City; Feb. 26, 2016, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Borreli, Lizette. "Watermelon Juice, 'Nature's Viagra,' May Act as A Natural Erectile Dysfunction Treatment." 29 April, 2014. http://www.medicaldaily.com/watermelon-juice-natures-viagra-may-act-natural-erectile-dysfunction-treatment-279498
- Carrieri G, Cormio L, Lorusso F et al. Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology. 2011.
- Fiegel, Amanda. "Five Reasons to Eat Watermelon: studies link the summer treat to many health benefits." National Geographic. 20 August 2013. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130820-watermelon-nutrition-health-food-science/
- Hutchinson, Alex. "Watermelon Juice: The New Beet Juice? New evidence suggests that citrulline found in watermelons may boost exercise performance. Runner's World. 7 July, 2015. http://www.runnersworld.com/sweat-science/watermelon-juice-the-new-beet-juice
- Schaefer, Anna. “Is Gatorade Bad for You? Healthline 23 March, 2015. http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-gatorade-bad-for-you
- Reinberg, Steven. “1 in 3 Americans Drink Soda, Other Sugary Drinks Daily: CDC.” Healthday. 25 Feb. 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/one-third-of-americans-drink-sugar-sweetened-drinks-daily-708447.html
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