Aside being a sweet fruit, watermelon seed oil possess several health benefits, which made it to attract so much attention from scientists, as well as nutritionists. The plant, which is a member of cucurbitaceae family and of the genus, Citrullus is a creeping plant, that resembles melon, save that its fruits are eating raw, whereas melon isn’t.
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) grows well in tropical rainforest with moderate rainfall and sufficient sunshine. In Nigeria, watermelon grows best in the northern region with minimal rainforest and maximum sunshine. The fruits are oval in shape, green outside with milky stripes, while the inside is reddish and fleshy. It is a sweet to taste, and most times, the reddish fleshy portion is eaten with the seeds. The seeds of watermelon are small and brownish in color. They are arranged t the center of the fruits.
What are the health benefits of watermelon seed oil?
Watermelon seed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is very beneficial for several health situations. The rich content of linolenic acid ranks watermelon seed oil with perilla seed oil. Aside the linolenic acid content, the seed oil also possess other fatty acids such as oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
Watermelon oil is beneficial to your cardiovascular health
Watermelon oil possess 68% alpha-linolenic acid, which is higher than that of flaxseed oil of 52%. This is good for your heart health and performances. There are several ways in which watermelon oil benefits the heart: it reduces the blood lipid profile levels, including total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels. By reducing the lipid level, the omega-3 fatty acid present in watermelon greatly reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis induced myocardial infarction. Also, alpha-linolenic acid can resist myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, and by reducing platelet activation and inhibiting the expression of arterial tissue factors through the inhibition of MAPK signaling pathway, it can inhibit thrombosis.
This cardiovascular properties of watermelon seed oil can be compared to that of avocado seed tea, perilla seed oil and coriander seed oil. If you join the three together, you may enjoy their strong synergistic cardioprotective effects.
Watermelon seed oil is important for stroke
There has been an increased number of deaths caused by ischemic stroke in recent times; and this has raised serious concerns across the globe. The major cause of stroke is glutamate excitotoxicity. During the onset of stroke, glutamate excitotoxicity through the overactivation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors leads the major mechanism of neuronal cell death. The increased rate of death due to ischemic stroke has led to the search for preventive, as well as curative agents of stroke. One of the potent compound for this is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), also referred as Omega-3 fatty acid.
Omega-3 fatty acid is highly present in watermelon seed oil, which makes the seed oil a potential anti-stroke agent. A study found that a high intake of alpha linolenic acid is associated with a lower prevalence of stroke and carotid plaque. ALA activates a neuronal background which rectify potassium channel, and leads to membrane hyperpolarization, which in turn increases the magnesium block of calcium channel associated with NMDA receptors. It is this NMDA receptors that play the major role in glutamate-mediated neuronal cell death.
Watermelon seed oil is potent for cancer treatment
Another health benefit of watermelon is in cancer apoptosis. Both the linolenic and oleic acid present in watermelon seed oil is beneficial for suppressing cancer cell proliferation, and for causing apoptosis. Studies have also shown that ALA can induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells by inhibiting the HER2 signaling pathway. Meanwhile, another study showed that oleic acid suppresses the oncogene Her-2/neu expression, which is usually overexpressed in approximately 20% of breast carcinomas, and encodes the oncoprotein p185 Her-2/neu. This oncoprotein, in normal cells, controls many cellular functions such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis.
A deregulation of this oncoprotein expression enhances the risk of cancer development. The combined anticancer properties of watermelon alpha linolenic and oleic acids makes watermelon seed oil an excellent home remedy for preventing and treating breast cancer cells, and other tumors.
Watermelon seed oil lowers cholesterol levels
The hypolipidemic activity of watermelon seed oil is widely known. The ALA and oleic acid rich oil actively reduces the plasma and serum lipid profile levels. The polyunsaturated fatty acids present in the oil protects the arterial walls from low density lipoprotein induced atherosclerosis. Also, the oil increases the level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, otherwise known as the good cholesterol.
So if you are looking for the best cooking oil, you may rightly consider watermelon seed oil. Other oil with this great benefits are perilla seed oil and coriander seed oil. Both perilla and watermelon seed oil possess higher ALA concentration than flax oil.
Watermelon seed oil benefits for hypertension
The hypolipidemic and cardioprotective activities of watermelon seed oil has also been noticed in the hypotensive activity of the oil. This makes watermelon seed oil good for lowering the blood vessels and enhancing smooth flow of blood, which low density lipoprotein hampers.
For a hypertensive person, aside taking the oil, you may also combine the seed powder of watermelon, and perilla in avocado seed tea formulation. The seed powder of avocado fruits possess strong cardioprotective properties against several heart related diseases, including hypertension. Making a combination of watermelon and perilla seeds powder in an avocado seed tea would synergistically enhance your healing process. You may also make blue oyster mushroom or king oyster mushroom part of your dietary preferences. This is because both are excellent antihypertensive agents.
Read also (12 benefits of pumpkin fruits and seeds)
Watermelon seed oil enhances wound healing
Linolenic and oleic acids have been used in developing world to hasten the processes of wound healing. They are administered orally as well as applied topically on the wounded area. This is not just beneficial to the traditional practitioners, but has also been proven scientifically. According to scientific studies, linolenic oil hasten wound healing processes by accelerating the inflammatory phase of wound healing, allowing the next phase, which is the proliferation phase to start early.
When treated with oleic and linolenic acids, they induced increased amount of connective tissue fibers deposition in the wounded site. Oleic acid favors tissue repair. Both fatty acids stabilizes fibrin and enhance the migration of fibroblast.
Improves ulcer and gastrointestinal health
Being fortified with polyunsaturated lipids, especially with alpha-linolenic acid, watermelon seed oil is beneficial for treating stomach ulcer, caused by Helicobacter pylori. Several studies have suggested different mechanisms by which the watermelon oil can stop ulceration. One of these mechanisms is through inducing and enhancing prostaglandin secretion. Another mechanism is by inhibition of Helicobacter pylori growth, through the suppression of membrane layer formation. By this means, watermelon oil inhibits the production of toxins by Helicobacter pylori.
The supplementation of watermelon seed oil with cabbage juice may synergistically quicken your healing process from stomach ulcer.
Is beneficial for diabetes treatment
The high linolenic acid content of watermelon seed oil may be beneficial for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is because just like coral tree stem bark, linolenic acid also inhibits protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP). Several PTP have been associated with insulin resistance, and new studies have suggested that PTP inhibitors may be the effective agents against type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Additionally, linolenic acid treatment also enhance glucose uptake through the activation of AMPK and Akt signaling pathways. These multitargeted diabetic activities of linolenic acid makes watermelon seed oil an excellent home remedy for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Watermelon seed oil for hair growth
If you are looking for an oil that enhances hair growth and stops hair breakage, then you have got that in watermelon seed oil. The linolenic acid present in the oil enhances hair growth by activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling to promote the cell cycle and growth factor secretion, inducing proliferation of Dermal papilla cells and hair growth. Also, linolenic acid alleviate DKK-1 expression associated with testosterone, which is another cause of hair loss.
Watermelon seed oil for skin
Watermelon seed oil, aside enhancing hair growth also protects your skin from UV-induced skin damage and hyperpigmentation. It enhances your skin tone by suppressing melanin production. Since the oil does not have any side effect, unlike the chemical agents used in body lightening creams, watermelon seed oil may be a cosmetic agent for hair growth and skin lightening creams.
There are several health benefits of watermelon seed oil, as you have read above. However, the seed oil of watermelon have been poorly utilized, which may be attributed to low volume of research articles.
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Bollu, A. Mazumdar, M.I. Savage, P.H. Brown Molecular pathways: Targeting protein tyrosine phosphatases in cancer Clinical Cancer Research, 23 (9) (2017), pp. 2136-2142, 10.1158/1078-0432.Ccr-16-0934.
R. Ke, Q. Xu, C. Li, L. Luo, D. Huang Mechanisms of AMPK in the maintenance of ATP balance during energy metabolism Cell Biology International, 42 (4) (2018), pp. 384-392, 10.1002/cbin.10915
Biswas, Reetapa. (2018). A comprehensive review on watermelon seed oil – an underutilized product.
Blondeau, N., Lipsky, R. H., Bourourou, M., Duncan, M. W., Gorelick, P. B., & Marini, A. M. (2015). Alpha-linolenic acid: an omega-3 fatty acid with neuroprotective properties-ready for use in the stroke clinic?. BioMed research international, 2015, 519830. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/519830
Sales-Campos, Helioswilton & Souza, Patrícia & Peghini, Bethânea & Silva, Joao & Cardoso, Cristina. (2012). An Overview of the Modulatory Effects of Oleic Acid in Health and Disease. Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry. 13. 10.2174/1389557511313020003.
Silva, J. R., Burger, B., Kühl, C., Candreva, T., Dos Anjos, M., & Rodrigues, H. G. (2018). Wound Healing and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: From Inflammation to Repair. Mediators of inflammation, 2018, 2503950. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2503950