Jun 18, 2012 12:57PM
On a hot summer day, a cool, juicy slice of watermelon offers enticing refreshment. The treat offers surprising health benefits, too—it may help keep weight off and arteries clear, according to a recent study involving mice with high cholesterol by University of Kentucky researchers.
One group sipped watermelon juice; the control group, water. After eight weeks, the mice that imbibed the juice had a lower body weight due to a decrease in fat mass; lean muscle mass was unaffected. These same mice also experienced reduced atherosclerotic lesions— associated with hardening of the arteries—and lower concentrations of cholesterol in their blood.
“This pilot study has found… interesting health benefits in the mouse model of atherosclerosis,” says lead investigator Dr. Sibu Saha, a cardiothoracic surgeon. “Our ultimate goal is to identify bioactive compounds that would improve human health.”