Properties and Benefits of Watermelon Seeds: We know watermelons are healthy for us. They keep our kidneys in good shape, they hydrate us, they make a sweet, refreshing snack and they are a rich source of lycopene, a natural substance with wonderful heart protective properties. But what about watermelon seeds? Are they any good for us? Should we eat them on purpose, not just let one accidentally slip? The answer is yes.
What do watermelon seeds look like? Watermelon seeds are small, flat, oval-shaped seeds with a pointy end. As the fruit matures, the milky white seeds turn brown, then black and develop a hard outer shell which can be cracked using one’s teeth. As a child, I used to pick each and every one of those tiny black seeds and throw them away. When I grew older however, I started eating them.
While ingesting a great amount of watermelon seeds is not something you should do, enjoying them in moderate to small amounts occassionally holds great benefits for one’s health. Here is a list of the most noteworthy 5 nutrition facts and health benefits of watermelon seeds:
1) Antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells and DNA against reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals, preventing cell and DNA damage buildup that may lead to potentially cancerous mutations.
2) Improve blood circulation. Watermelon seeds contain 3.55 mg of niacin (per 100 g of seeds). Niacin has been shown to improve blood circulation and thus contribute to cardiovascular and nervous system health.
3) Regulate body fluids and blood pressure. Watermelon seeds are a generous source of dietary potassium (648 mg), a mineral that regulates fluid levels in the body, preventing water retention that contributes to elevated blood pressure levels. Having enough potassium is essential for good blood pressure.
4) Relieve fatigue by increasing the oxygen supply to cells throughout the body. At the same time, watermelon seeds are a great source of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamin B6, all of which improve energy levels and help combat fatigue by helping the body function well.
5) Accelerate burn healing by avoiding the formation of a thick scar (Effectivity of watermelon (Citrullus Lanatus) seeds extract on inducible nitric oxide synthase).
According to a recent study conducted by the Cambridge Sacred Heart University, watermelon seeds are shown to significantly lower systolic blood pressure. Apparently, this contributes to a lower risk of myocardial infarction in individuals suffering from coronary atherosclerosis and angina.
However, if you are eating watermelon seeds along with the fruit, you should be careful not to accidentally choke on them. Not only are they small, but they are also very slippery so, unless you want one to go down the wind pipe, remove them from the fruit and then eat them. Alternatively, you can buy watermelon seed kernels which are already shelled and, sometimes, even roasted. I say why waste good seeds already at your disposal? Save them, dry them for 2-3 days in a cool place and enjoy them.
Good to know: if you are not looking forward to some unexpected and somewhat urgent trips to the loo, it is best to consume watermelon seeds without the hard, black shell. Maybe you have noticed that if you accidentally chew and swallow some watermelon seeds, they come out just as they came in. This is because the black shell is all fiber and fiber generally increases the frequency of bowel movements. But more important, the black shell may cause intestinal blockage which may endanger one’s life.
Overall, watermelon kernels are very healthy. But have you ever wondered why there are increasingly more seedless fruits, watermelons and bananas included? Is it just to make third world farmers as poor as church mouses or to deprive us of essential nutrients? Depending on the fruit, seeds concentrate impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals, so why are they being removed?