Watermelon: rising star

An intriguing finding regarding a natural product present in watermelons, citrulline, suggests that the fleshy fruit may offer an alternative to little blue tablets for men with erectile dysfunction. According to Bhimu Patil of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station, citrulline (2-amino-5-ureido-pentanoic acid) is present in large amounts in watermelon. This compound is readily metabolized to the amino acid arginine, which in turn is known to have a relaxing effect on blood vessels and has been linked with several health benefits. Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it, Patil says.