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10 Aphrodisiac Myths

        Health | Sexuality

8
Watermelon
It’s a refreshing summer treat, but watermelon isn’t a sure bet in the aphrodisiac game. © camelot1671/iStock/Thinkstock
It’s a refreshing summer treat, but watermelon isn’t a sure bet in the aphrodisiac game. © camelot1671/iStock/Thinkstock

Watermelon may be nature's Viagra. But we aren't holding our breath.

This myth began when scientists discovered that watermelon contains an amino acid called L-citrulline. In your body, your kidneys convert it into L-argnine and nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what we're interested in; it expands blood vessels, and when you're talking about aphrodisiacs, that's important because it helps increase blood flow.

When a penis is flaccid, smooth muscles are contracted (called vasoconstriction), and there is limited arterial blood flow to the area. To get an erection, there needs to be smooth-muscle relaxation (called vasodilation) and increased arterial blood flow. Nitric oxide helps with that smooth-muscle relaxation, which then helps boost arterial blood flow throughout the body, including to your genitals.

But before you serve up watermelon for its potential Viagralike effects, know that no one knows how much watermelon you need to eat to see any sexual function benefits. Eating 4 ounces (28 grams) of watermelon will get you 150 milligrams of L-citrulline, but is that too little? Or maybe too much? Your guess is as good as ours — and it may not even work at all.

If you do plan to give it a try, though, don't toss the rind; 60 percent more L-citrulline is found there than in the sweet fruit [source: Men's Health].