LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In a recent study by University of Kentucky researchers, watermelon was shown to reduce atherosclerosis in animals.
The animal model used for the study involved mice with diet-induced high cholesterol. A control group was given water to drink, while the experimental group was given watermelon juice. By week eight of the study, the animals given watermelon juice had lower body weight than the control group, due to decrease of fat mass. They experienced no decrease in lean mass. Plasma cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower in the experimental group, with modestly reduced intermediate and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations as compared to the control group.
A measurement of atherosclerotic lesion areas revealed that the watermelon juice group also experienced statistically significant reductions in atherosclerotic lesions, as compared to the control group.
"Melons have many health benefits," said lead investigator Dr. Sibu Saha. "This pilot study has found three interesting health benefits in mouse model of atherosclerosis. Our ultimate goal is to identify bioactive compounds that would improve human health."
The study was conducted by Sibu Saha, UK Department of Surgery; Aruna Poduri, UK Saha Cardiovascular Research Center (UK Saha CRVC); Debra L. Rateri, UK Saha CVRC; Shubin Saha of Purdue Univ.; and Alan Daugherty, director, UK Saha CVRC.