It's likely that when you eat watermelon, you either get rid of the seeds or buy watermelons specially grown to develop without seeds. When I was younger I used to think that if I ate the seeds a watermelon would grow in my stomach! But this is definitely not the case; our stomach acid takes care of that.
Rather, watermelon seeds come with many benefits and if all that's stopping you from eating them is that you thought you shouldn't, let's look at why you should.
The Benefits of Watermelon Seeds
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Our bodies produce free radicals as they perform the various functions that keep us alive. Pollution, stress, pesticides, poor diet, excess alcohol, and smoking also cause free radical production. Antioxidants get rid of harmful free radicals and these seeds are little antioxidant powerhouses.
They contain mainly polyphenols, specifically tannins which you can also find in tea. Adding watermelon seeds to your diet can help to protect against many diseases and help you to age gracefully.
2. Rich in Nutrients
The amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in watermelon seeds is amazing:
Zinc: Needed for healthy hair and skin, wound healing, a strong immune system, and good male sexual health.
Iron: Helps to carry oxygen to your cells and is essential for energy metabolism.
Magnesium: Involved in over 300 processes in the body. Good for reducing headaches, anxiety and constipation as well as balancing hormones and improving sleep quality.
Copper: Necessary for iron metabolism.
Potassium: Keeps your heart healthy and is needed for muscle contraction and fluid balance and keeps your nerves functioning properly.
Manganese: Needed to make various enzymes in your body.
Phosphorus: Keeps your bones and teeth healthy and balances the acidity in your body.
Sodium: Necessary for fluid balance, healthy muscle contraction, and to keep your nerve function healthy.
While a small handful of watermelon seeds won't provide you with large amounts of these minerals, they can still contribute to your daily intake which is great. Many people are deficient in potassium and magnesium which perform very important functions essential for optimal health.
They also contain fibre, protein, folate and other B vitamins which are important for foetal development and energy metabolism.
3. Easy to Digest
Watermelon seeds contain globulin and albumin which are proteins that are easy for the body to absorb and use. This makes them an excellent snack when you need that little something between meals.
4. Healthy Fats
Watermelon seeds are low in saturated fat and contain healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help to lower cholesterol and keep your heart and arteries healthy. They also help to keep your brain, membranes, muscles and eyes healthy.
When you eat the correct balance of omega 6 to omega 3, which is a ratio of no more than 4:1, polyunsaturated fats will reduce inflammation.
5. Low in Calories
A 30g serving of watermelon seeds is approximately 160 calories. You will eat far less than that in a sitting. For every 28g, there are approximately 400 seeds!
Ways to Eat Watermelon Seeds
You can of course just eat the seeds as you eat the watermelon, but you can also extract them or buy a packet and:
Eat them as a snack on their own (fresh, roasted or dried).
Put them in your salad.
Use them along with oats, nuts, and other seeds to make granola.
Use them to make tea (use a half to one teaspoon of crushed fresh watermelon seeds per cup and brew them in water for 10-15 minutes).
How to Roast Watermelon Seeds
If you want to roast them you can do so at 180°C for 15-20 minutes and you can flavour them with salt or any other herb or spice you like.
What About Watermelon Seed Side Effects?
Watermelon seeds are perfectly safe to eat. If you do go overboard, which would be quite a feat, you may experience some bloating and possibly get the runs, but given the nature of these seeds, you probably will not be eating more than a tablespoon or two at a time which is fine.
To say that watermelon seeds are the "new apple a day" really isn't an exaggeration. It can be a bit strange to suddenly start eating something that you may have been told your whole life not to eat, but before you spit out the seeds again, be brave and try it.