Most people have the belief instilled in them that if they swallow a watermelon seed, the fruit will grow inside their belly. Truth be told, this isn’t the case.
In fact, watermelon seeds should be consumed. It’s better if you save the seeds and sprout them and shell them (the shells will naturally fall off once they soak in water and sprout for a couple days). The seeds can then be dried after sprouting in a dehydrator or oven, and saved for consumption whenever need be.
They are protein packed (just 1/8 of a cup provides you with 10 grams of pure plant-based protein!), and loaded with vitamins and minerals that help the body flourish and thrive. Not only are watermelon seeds packed with nutrition, but the heath benefits of watermelon itself should also be considered. Watermelon fruit supports healthy flow of toxins and waste matter from the kidneys and it is incredibly alkaline-forming. It helps reduce body fat, improves the health of our eyes, and so much more.
Picking the perfect watermelon can also be a bit of a mystery, but if you check out my article on 5 tricks for picking the perfect watermelon every time, you’ll never be disappointed!
Why You Should Eat Watermelon Seeds
So instead of tossing out your watermelon seeds, here are some reasons why you should actually eat them!
1. Full of Magnesium
A quarter cup of watermelon seeds provide up to 65% of your daily magnesium needs! Over 80% of the American population is chronically deficient in magnesium, so it is important to consume foods that are higher in this mineral. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, and therefore a deficiency in this mineral could lead to a host of different problems in the body (such as chronic disease).
2. Rich in Lycopene
This antioxidant has many studied health benefits (1). It has been shown to be associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lycopene also acts as an internal sunscreen and protects the skin from sunburn, and helps reduce the signs of aging.
3. High in Amino Acids
Watermelon seeds contain 18 of the 20 amino acids your body needs to build protein (aka. healthy muscle). Nine of these amino acids are ones your body cannot produce on its own like histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan and valine. These amino acids have their own benefits, such as with arginine, which can improve metabolism as well as sexual and heart health.
4. B Vitamins
The seeds are also rich in B vitamins like niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, thiamine and riboflavin. B vitamins are important for our nervous system, and without them, many of our bodily processes would shut down. Niacin is necessary for healthy skin and muscle tissue, and it promote mental acuteness and assists in the digestion of fat, proteins and carbohydrates. Folate is needed especially during pregnancy, while pantothenic acid aids in food metabolism, regulates the nervous system and promotes healthy skin. Thiamine helps boost energy, and riboflavin aids in the production of red blood cells to help prevent anemia!
5. Loaded with Copper
Watermelon seeds are also loaded with copper (up to 34% for just half a cup!). Copper helps aid in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives hair and skin colour. It helps with the formation of collagen, and increases the absorption of iron, while also playing a role in energy production.
6. Contain Essential Fatty Acids
Watermelon seeds contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 and omega-6 (2). These fatty acids are used as basic building blocks of membranes inside the body, as well as for the precursors of certain hormones and for long-term energy storage. EFAs can help in the prevention of joint conditions like arthritis, as well as skin disorders like eczema and acne. They are also necessary for proper heart health.
7. High in Phosphorus
We need phosphorous to keep our metabolism running and to help boost energy levels. Thankfully, watermelon seeds are loaded with the stuff (up to 76% for half a cup!). Phosphorous is crucial for maintaining strong bones, as it helps form bone mineral density that prevents bone fractures, breaks and osteoporosis. It also detoxes the body through urination and excretion, and balances the body’s pH level and improves digestion!
8. Rich in Zinc
Zinc is one mineral most people are deficient in – and it isn’t all great for the body to be so low in this mineral. Zinc is needed for a healthy immune system, and is especially important in fighting cancer in the body. Zinc balances hormones, too, and is needed for the production of estrogen and progesterone in women. Zinc is also needed to maintain the health of cells in the cardiovascular system, and helps lower levels of inflammation and oxidative stress (3).