Watermelon for Sore Muscle Relief

Watermelon for Sore Muscle Relief
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Watermelon found to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout—without the gut leakiness that occurs within hours of taking anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness is the discomfort that starts the day after a particularly grueling workout. Microtears in the muscle lead to inflammation, and so the leading pharmaceutical interventions are over-the-counter NSAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen—provided people are offered “a reasonable guidance on the dangers of their use.”

“The use of NSAIDs is associated with serious upper and lower gastrointestinal…side-effects, including [upset stomach, stomach ulcers, stomach and] intestinal bleeding, and perforation. Of all the NSAIDS, ibuprofen is probably safest—significantly safer than naproxen. Still, there may be about a one-in-a-hundred chance we’ll end up at our doctors with some problem—and up to about a one-in-500 chance we could end up in the hospital because of taking simple, over-the-counter ibuprofen.

And, that’s mostly for the stomach. NSAID drugs also can damage the small intestine. Within hours of taking ibuprofen, it can make our gut leaky, and, within days, inflame our bowels. Up until the mid-80s, we thought “the…small intestine was…relatively unaffected by [these drugs].” But now, we know they may “disrupt [our] intestinal barrier function.” There’s got to be a better way to deal with muscle soreness.

Previously, I reviewed the role cherries may play in reducing muscle soreness—thought to be because of anti-inflammatory flavonoid nutrients. Interestingly, while the absorption of these phytonutrients can help with exercise, exercise may help with the absorption of these phytonutrients. Here’s the absorption of fruit phytonutrients in sedentary volunteers. Compare that to how much triathletes get from the same amount of fruit. If you look at each of the individual phytonutrients they looked at, they all were significantly better absorbed by the athletes. The thought is that “elite training [may] modify the activity” of the good bacteria in our gut, which then boosts “bioavailability.”

But, back to muscle soreness: any other fruit that may help? Watermelon. Researchers in Spain had a group of men engage in intense physical activity after drinking two cups of fresh-blended watermelon or a watermelon-free placebo drink. And, the next day, those that preloaded with watermelon were significantly less sore—around one on a scale of one to five, compared to closer to two after placebo.

They conclude that “functional compound[s]…in fruits and vegetables [can] play a key role in the design of new natural…products…by the food industry, instead of synthetic compounds from [the] pharmaceutical industry. But, why design new natural products when nature already designed the products we need?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Mfrascella via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness is the discomfort that starts the day after a particularly grueling workout. Microtears in the muscle lead to inflammation, and so the leading pharmaceutical interventions are over-the-counter NSAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen—provided people are offered “a reasonable guidance on the dangers of their use.”

“The use of NSAIDs is associated with serious upper and lower gastrointestinal…side-effects, including [upset stomach, stomach ulcers, stomach and] intestinal bleeding, and perforation. Of all the NSAIDS, ibuprofen is probably safest—significantly safer than naproxen. Still, there may be about a one-in-a-hundred chance we’ll end up at our doctors with some problem—and up to about a one-in-500 chance we could end up in the hospital because of taking simple, over-the-counter ibuprofen.

And, that’s mostly for the stomach. NSAID drugs also can damage the small intestine. Within hours of taking ibuprofen, it can make our gut leaky, and, within days, inflame our bowels. Up until the mid-80s, we thought “the…small intestine was…relatively unaffected by [these drugs].” But now, we know they may “disrupt [our] intestinal barrier function.” There’s got to be a better way to deal with muscle soreness.

Previously, I reviewed the role cherries may play in reducing muscle soreness—thought to be because of anti-inflammatory flavonoid nutrients. Interestingly, while the absorption of these phytonutrients can help with exercise, exercise may help with the absorption of these phytonutrients. Here’s the absorption of fruit phytonutrients in sedentary volunteers. Compare that to how much triathletes get from the same amount of fruit. If you look at each of the individual phytonutrients they looked at, they all were significantly better absorbed by the athletes. The thought is that “elite training [may] modify the activity” of the good bacteria in our gut, which then boosts “bioavailability.”

But, back to muscle soreness: any other fruit that may help? Watermelon. Researchers in Spain had a group of men engage in intense physical activity after drinking two cups of fresh-blended watermelon or a watermelon-free placebo drink. And, the next day, those that preloaded with watermelon were significantly less sore—around one on a scale of one to five, compared to closer to two after placebo.

They conclude that “functional compound[s]…in fruits and vegetables [can] play a key role in the design of new natural…products…by the food industry, instead of synthetic compounds from [the] pharmaceutical industry. But, why design new natural products when nature already designed the products we need?

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Mfrascella via flickr

Doctor's Note

Here’s the previous video I mentioned: Reducing Muscle Soreness with Berries.

For more dietary tweaks to maximize athletic performance, see:

I also talked about the risks of ibuprofen in Anti-inflammatory Life is a Bowl of Cherries.

My last watermelon video dealt with another kind of physical activity: Watermelon as Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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