Watermelon is one of America’s most popular summertime treats, but eliminating it from your diet when fall hits is a big mistake, especially for athletes. Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that serves as a precursor for several important, daily functions. More importantly for athletes, it does wonders for the cardiovascular system by helping blood vessels relax. Watermelon boosts nitric oxide—which increases blood flow. Finally, due to its high water content, this superfruit helps you stay hydrated for the big game.
Take advantage of watermelon’s great athletic enhancers. Enjoy it sliced in fruit salad or blend it up with some low-fat, no-sugar-added plain yogurt and strawberries for a quick watermelon smoothie.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, is a Wellness Manager and Nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Department of Disease Reversal, where she oversees the nutrition component of the Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program. Kirkpatrick presents nationally on a variety of nutrition and wellness-related topics; is a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show; and also writes for The Huffington Post, DrOz.com and 360-5.com.