With the hot summer days comes the reappearance of the juicy watermelon in our diet. While the popular sweet fruit has great health benefits on its own, do you know anything about the properties of its seeds?
We find them so unpleasant that we’ve created seedless watermelons to maximize our enjoyment of this refreshing product, but they actually have a few nutritional secrets to share with watermelon consumers. In Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, roasted watermelon seeds are often used as healthy snacks.
1. Essential amino acids
Watermelon seeds contain l-tryptophan and glutamic acids, which the body can’t produce on its own. They’re crucial for synthesizing serotonin, facilitating the formation of collagen and connective tissues and improving the metabolism and the function of the cardiovascular system.
Also, all parts of the watermelon, including the seeds, contain citrulline, a non-essential amino acid (the body can manufacture it on its own) that can also act as an oxidant and increase l-arginine supplies in the body, helping treat high blood pressure, anemia and elevated glucose levels.
2. Healthy fats
Surprisingly, watermelon seeds are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that protect cardiovascular health and reverse the effects of the “bad” cholesterol on the blood vessels.
3. Vitamins and minerals
These seeds can easily replace some vitamin B supplements, because they are packed with niacin, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid – these nutrients help maintain cardiovascular health and brain function and boost the immune system. In addition, watermelon seeds are rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
One study has shown that the iron and zinc found in watermelon seeds is highly bioavailable compared to other foods. And 100 grams of watermelon seeds can provide 139% of the recommended daily requirement of magnesium – the mineral responsible for normal heart functioning and maintaining a stable blood pressure, as well as nourishing nerve and muscle function.
Both the fruit and its seeds are exceptionally rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, thus decreasing the risk of many types of cancer, including prostate, breast, ovaries, lung and colon cancer. Lycopene is also important in the prevention of atherosclerosis and can improve skin health.
Of course that we’re not advising you to depend on watermelons seeds as a main provider of protein, but you should know that 24 seeds come with 1 gram of protein, which is a rather valuable amount for this type of food – if you’re on a high-protein diet, consider nibbling watermelon seeds between meals to get an additional protein boost.
Nutritionists recommend consuming watermelon seeds all through the summer to improve cardiovascular health and boost cognitive performance. If you simply swallow the watermelon seeds, they will pass through the body without getting metabolized.
They also pack a good amount of dietary fiber which can improve bowel movement and digestion and even prevent diabetes. But if you chew them raw or cook, roast or ground them, you can turn these nutrient-dense seeds into a tasty healthy snack and fully use their health benefits. Need some ideas? Try this simple tea recipe!
4 tablespoons of fresh watermelon seeds, crushed or ground
2 liters of water
Boil the seeds in the water for 15 minutes. Drink the mixture during the next two days, then take one day off. You can add some lime juice to improve the flavor. Repeat procedure for one month.
This simple drink can bring you great health benefits and nourish your body with all the essential nutrients it needs, especially during the hot months. Give it a try and let us know what you think!