Researchers have revealed many benefits of L-citrulline — an uncommon amino acid found in watermelons— such as preventing post-workout muscle pain.
Lactic acid builds up in muscles when intense exercise necessitates energy production faster than oxygen can be delivered. Normally, the body breaks down glucose into a substance called pyruvate, which is then metabolized aerobically, to be broken down for more energy. However, when there’s a limited supply of oxygen, the body converts pyruvate into lactate, which can also power up the muscles, but with side effects, including increased acidity and next day soreness.
Researches found that the cells absorbed 19 percent of the amino acid in watermelon juice after eight minutes, compared to only 12 percent of that in the water.
The Benefits of Citrulline in Watermelon
Citrulline is considered an essential amino acid. It has also been shown to benefit blood flow throughout the body and rid the liver of ammonia and other toxins. The citrulline content in watermelons has been shown to lower blood pressure and help with sexual dysfunction for males.
Other Pre-Workout Foods
In order to get the most out of your workout, and the most out of your recovery, try consuming these foods pre-workout:
- Bananas – This fruit is full of easily digestible carbohydrates for your body’s fuel supply, as well as plenty of potassium, which helps with nerve and muscle function. Since potassium doesn’t linger in the body for too long, bananas are a good source of the nutrient right before exercise.
- Oats – Because they’re rich in fiber, oats allow the body to gradually release carbohydrates into the bloodstream, keeping your available energy consistent over time, instead of burning through it all at once.
- Wholegrain bread – Whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates. Topping it with jam or honey can also provide more sugar for fuel, or a sliced boiled egg can add protein.
- Fruit Smoothies – They’re high in carbohydrates and protein, and because they’re drinkable, they digested even faster than solids.
Sources: Medical Daily & Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.