Watermelon King of Aphrodisiac Fruits and Saffron Queen of Aphrodisiac Spices

Watermelon King of Aphrodisiac Fruits and Saffron Queen of Aphrodisiac Spices

An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire, or libido. Some human sexuality experts extend this definition to include a chemical's ability to enhance sexual pleasure. Abiding by the narrower definition, there are no known natural aphrodisiacs. Viagra and Cialis are synthetic drugs, and nevertheless they do not increase libido. One's sexual desire or mojo, must be working for these drugs to work.

Alcohol merely lowers sexual inhibitions and ultimately reduces sexual performance. MDMA, or ecstasy, can increase tactile sensation and thus enhance sexual pleasure in this one regard; but as with alcohol, the drug can hinder erection and delay or diminish orgasm for both sexes. Psychoanalysis, as sexy as that sounds, is the most common treatment for low libido, particularly when tied to depression or other psychological disorders.

Watermelon: King of Aphrodisiac Fruits

This juicy red fruit could be the new sexual star. While watermelon is 92 percent water, the remaining eight percent contains the phytonutrient citrulline, which converts to arginine, an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels, according to 2008 research from Texas A&M University’s department of horticultural sciences. Although not as organ-specific as drugs that treat men’s erectile dysfunction, watermelon may help improve blood flow to erectile tissue (present in the female clit¬oral area as well as the male penis), increasing arousal.

Scientists at the university’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center are now working on increasing the fruit’s citrulline content. But if you are trying to conceive, don’t overdo it! Watermelon, like tomatoes, contains the antioxidant lycopene, which is in the same family as carotene and therefore has the same beneficial antioxidant effects. On the one hand, that’s great since carotene, found in many brightly coloured foods, has been shown to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. But it is also anti-estrogenic, says Dr. Sony Sierra, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Toronto’s LifeQuest Centre for Reproductive Medicine, “so a very high volume may block estrogen and prevent the lining of the uterus from growing and the fertilized egg from implanting.” Some of Sierra’s patients have disordered eating habits and eat massive amounts of high-carotene foods such as carrots or kale. She advises clients to follow Canada’s Food Guide, which recommends a wide variety of vegetables and fruit, in seven or eight half-cup servings daily for women (up to 10 servings for men).

A study suggesting that watermelon may have Viagra-like effects on the body made headlines. But the findings don't exactly mean that eating watermelon can boost libido or treat erectile dysfunction. Watermelon, scientists found, contains large amounts of the plant nutrient citrulline, which is known to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems. The chemical can relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, in much the way Viagra's active ingredient does. But, the researchers say, it isn't as organ specific as Viagra.

Also, most of watermelon's citrulline is found in the inedible rind of the fruit.

In the summer of 2008, research was released fingering watermelon as a possible key to sexual fulfillment. Dr. Bhimu Patil and the Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center specifically studied one of watermelon’s phytonutrients, citrulline. Thanks to Dr. Patil we now know that citrulline, like Viagra, has the power to relax blood vessels. The body converts citrulline to arginine, which, as Dr. Patil explains, “boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

Watermelon King of Aphrodisiac Fruits and Saffron Queen of Aphrodisiac SpicesCitrulline is more concentrated in the rind than in the flesh of the fruit. So, of course, researchers are diligently working on developing a variety with rind-quality concentrations in the flesh of the fruit. I’ve not yet seen evidence of the Viagra fruit on the market, but there is no doubt that it is coming soon to a test tube near you.

Previous to the citrulline discovery, watermelon was valued as one of the finest natural sources of lycopene available – it even outweighs tomatoes on the lycopene department! (Lycopene is primarily thought of as essential for heart health but is also beneficial for prostate health). Yet without knowing the nutritional impact it can have on the body, it is still easy to see why watermelon is a food of seduction. Valentine pink in color, watermelon’s flesh is an emblem of summer, hot days in the sun and lots of skin.

Even in the manner in which it is eaten, watermelon is sexy. It is a food for which it is not only accepted, it is expected that the seeds will be expelled from the mouth through puckered up lips. Watermelon rinds could be the new natural aphrodisiac, new research has shown. Researchers from Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center say the fruit's rind can have a Viagra-like effect.

The flesh and rind of watermelons contain citrulline, which reacts with the body's enzymes when consumed in large quantities. The compound is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems. Just like the popular Viagra and other drugs meant to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), it also helps relax and dilate blood vessels.

Researchers are now working on breeding watermelons with higher concentrations of citrulline in the flesh of the fruit. Nearly 60 percent of this phyto-nutrient is found in watermelon rind than the flesh. Though found in all colors of watermelon, it has the highest concentration in the yellow fleshed types.

However, a person would need to eat about six cups of watermelon to get enough citrulline to boost the body's arginine level and have the desired effect. The organic compound citrulline is an alpha-amino acid. Its name is derived from citrullus, the Latin word for watermelon, from which it was first isolated in 1930. Citrulline in the form of citrulline malate is sold as a performance-enhancing athletic dietary supplement which is said to reduce muscle fatigue.

“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

“We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.” Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phytonutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions, Patil said.

In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phytonutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.

Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system, Patil said.

“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Patil.

“Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

While there are many psychological and physiological problems that can cause impotence, extra nitric oxide could help those who need increased blood flow, which would also help treat angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

“Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” Patil said, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.” The benefits of watermelon don’t end there, he said. Arginine also helps the urea cycle by removing ammonia and other toxic compounds from our bodies. Citrulline, the precursor to arginine, is found in higher concentrations in the rind of watermelons than the flesh. As the rind is not commonly eaten, two of Patil’s fellow scientists, drs. Steve King and Hae Jeen Bang, are working to
breed new varieties with higher concentrations in the flesh.

Watermelon King of Aphrodisiac Fruits and Saffron Queen of Aphrodisiac SpicesIn addition to the research by Texas A&M, watermelon’s phyto-nutrients are being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Lane, Oklahoma. As an added bonus, these studies have also shown that deep red varieties of watermelon have displaced the tomato as the lycopene king, Patil said. Almost 92 percent of watermelon is water, but the remaining 8 percent is loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health. “Lycopene, which is also found in red grapefruit, was historically thought to exist only in tomatoes,” he said. “But now we know that it’s found in higher concentrations in red watermelon varieties.”

Lycopene, however, is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs certain fats in the blood for better absorption by the body, Patil said. “Previous tests have shown that lycopene is much better absorbed from tomatoes when mixed in a salad with oily vegetables like avocado or spinach,” Patil said. “That would also apply to the lycopene from watermelon, but I realize mixing watermelon with spinach or avocadoes is a very hard sell.”

No studies have been conducted to determine the timing of the consumption of oily vegetables to improve lycopene absorption, he said. “One final bit of advice for those Fourth of July watermelons you buy,” Patil said. “They store much better uncut if you leave them at room temperature. Lycopene levels can be maintained even as it sits on your kitchen floor. But once you cut it, refrigerate. And enjoy.”

Watermelon is a fun and cool snack to enjoy at any BBQ, get together, or just because you crave it. However, for men, eating watermelon may have an interesting side-effect that may involve your sex life. The latest studies show that watermelon may be one of the latest foods to add to the aphrodisiac list in addition to being one of the healthiest foods to consume.

Aphrodisiacs have been widely used in various cultures and civilizations for hundreds of thousands of years. By definition an aphrodisiac is a substance or activity that increases a person’s sexual desire and interest. Food has been tied to having aphrodisiac qualities for many years as well. Many believe that certain foods contain herbs and other properties that can heighten sexual desire, while others are believed to have an impact on one’s sex life due to its shape or its origins. Common examples of food-related aphrodisiacs include garlic, arugula, figs, oysters, anise, mustard, vanilla, honey, almonds, truffles, wine, coffee, and licorice. Fruit-related aphrodisiacs include berries, pineapples, cherries, strawberries, and bananas.

Like many other fruits and vegetables, watermelon contains phytonutrients, which have the ability to trigger certain reactions within the human body. In the case of watermelon, recent studies show that in men, it has the ability to trigger a sexual response that can increase the male libido by relaxing blood vessels. Researchers compare this watermelon trigger with the effects Viagra has on men. The main phyto-nutrient that is at the heart of this response is known as citrulline. When absorbed into the body it turns into arginine and in this amino acid form it works to benefit the immune, heart, and circulatory system as well as its sexual side effects, which may be able to prevent and treat erectile dysfunction.

For men suffering from impotence or other forms of erectile dysfunction, the health benefits of watermelon could provide a more natural solution to treat their condition.

Additionally, turning to watermelon provides an option that does not involve the use of prescription drugs or their side effects. As surprising as the results are, researchers are quick to say that watermelon may not be as direct in affecting the male sex organ as medication like Viagra but it is definitely a food that should be included into anyone’s diet, male or female, due to its potent and numerous health benefits. The best way to enjoy the full flavor and benefits of watermelon is to store it at room temperature and then cut into it. Once it’s been cut, be sure to refrigerate what’s left.




Dated 03 March 2015


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