Watermelon: Nature’s Gatorade and… Viagra?

Deep in the heat of summer with no relief in sight the body gets desperate for help. Look no farther than the humble watermelon to help you make it through the plight. With the temperature soaring and even the slightest exertion seeming to bring exhaustion, watermelon is the remedy to reach for in the heat. It can replenish and refresh and just might save your life by fighting off heat stroke. And the only side effects watermelon has are all good.

There are over a thousand varieties of watermelon, all of which trace back in some way to sub-Saharan Africa in origination. The most common varieties grown and consumed in the United States have a red, yellow or light yellow flesh inside a thick, dark green rind. They can grow as small as softballs or as big as a bushel basket or more. Some of the names you’ll see are the Crimson Cross, the Jubilee, the Huck Finn and the inimitable Black Diamond. By far the most common is the green hued skin with the bright red flesh inside. Becoming popular are the small, personal-sized ones with names like Sugar Baby.

“Let food be thy medicine.” So said Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, back before it was corrupted by Big Pharma greed. And in the case of watermelon, it’s powerful medicine indeed. The most obvious benefits of watermelon are relief from summer heat. This is more than just a comfort zone cure. The body can suffer dangerous effects in unusually high temperatures like we are experiencing across the country right now. And watermelon can be a lifesaver in replenishing the electrolytes lost in dehydration.

Nature has a divine knack for putting ingredients together in a way that can’t be equaled by human reductionist tendencies. We think we can isolate compounds, bottle them, sweeten them and call them by a catchy name and improve on what nature packages in its own skin like a watermelon. Drinks like Gatorade will never compare with what watermelon has to offer.

Watermelon has the perfect balance of water, sugars and minerals to get the body back in equilibrium. When we eat watermelon on a hot summer day, we take in water for hydration, potassium and sodium for electrolytes. Somehow the natural balance restores energy and boosts our stamina during hot, stressful days. One of the first symptoms of dehydration and heat illness is fatigue. At 92 percent water, watermelon gets us hydrated rapidly. In some of the most demanding conditions, watermelon will keep the body cool and safe.

Big green melon beats the Little Blue Pill. Some other important nutrients found in watermelon have additional, if unexpected, benefits. Citrulline is a plentiful amino acid found in watermelon, especially nearer the rind. It’s a precursor to another important micronutrient that results in nitric oxide in the body. That’s the substance that Viagra triggers to dilate blood vessels and aid an erection.

It’s long been known that watermelon is one of those foods that can help maintain healthy blood pressure and it does that by providing the body with arginine and citrulline. The end result as postulated by a Texas A&M researcher is that of a Viagra-like effect on erectile dysfunction. And that’s without side effects.

If you’re looking to boost citrulline, head for the watermelons with the yellow flesh. The outside can still be green, but the yellow kind contains higher concentrations of the substance.

Avoiding kidney stones. Another benefit of watermelon is its use as a natural support for the kidneys. Natural medicine practitioners consider watermelon a cleansing food. Some holistic practitioners actually use watermelon as a way to eliminate kidney stones and avoid more invasive methods. The balance of phytonutrients and salts in watermelon can help dissolve stones so they can be passed in the urine. Watermelon is an ages-old remedy for kidney problems and was used as a medicine long before dialysis became the treatment of choice.

The slippery seeds that can be so annoying are also useful as a medicinal. Sources report that a tea made from watermelon seeds can cleanse and heal the body. They advise crushing a half-cup of seeds and soaking in a pint of hot water for 15 minutes then drinking the tea several times daily. It’s reportedly excellent for kidney problems.

Heart health and cancer fighting The micronutrients in watermelon do much more than combat the summer heat. They can afford long-lasting protection against heart disease, cancer and even diabetes, according to much research. It also contains substances that can be beneficial in combating ailments as diverse as asthma and arthritis or blemishes and bladder infections. And it’s rumored to be one of the best hangover cures in existence.

Watermelon is a natural when it comes to summer nutrition. Its cooling properties can help us get through this hot stretch. Its stress-lowering micronutrients can keep us calm as we consider the future of our climate.

Be well.

Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at www.HeartlandHealing.com

posted at 07:16 pm
on Monday, July 23rd, 2012

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