Athletes and others who regularly work out have begun recognizing that watermelon juice relieves post-exercise muscle soreness and helps the body recover faster after exercise.
A study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found the science behind the relief the juice provides. It’s the fruit’s amino acid, L-citrulline.
Researchers took three test groups and gave one natural watermelon juice, one watermelon juice enriched with L-citrulline and one a control drink containing no L-citrulline, and had each of them consume their drink an hour before exercise.
Both the natural watermelon juice and the enriched juice relieved muscle soreness in the volunteers. Looking deeper, researchers determined the L-citrulline in natural (unpasteurized) juice was a form better processed by the body.
In addition to relieving muscles strain, watermelon juice has antioxidant properties and increases muscle protein, which enhances athletic performance.