Who doesn’t love a good watermelon? Its refreshing, sweet flesh tastes like carefree, hot summer days! Watermelon seeds, on the other hand, get tossed away without a second thought. But did you know that watermelon seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber? They are also rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, all of which play an important role in many bodily functions. Watermelon seeds can also lower you blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And according to some traditional systems of medicine, watermelon seed tea can also help with kidney stones and bladder infections. So go ahead and snack on some roasted watermelon seeds!
Who can resist a juicy watermelon on a hot summer day? But while we all love sinking our teeth into the refreshing red flesh of the watermelon, the seeds are rarely treated with so much deference. But before you spit them out, here’s some food for thought!
In many parts of the world, watermelon seeds are valued for their nutritional and health benefits. Watermelon seeds are roasted, salted, and eaten like peanuts in several Asian countries. In Vietnam and China, watermelon seeds are a part of the traditional festivities to ring in the New Year. They are a favorite in Nigeria too. These seeds were even recovered from the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun in Egypt, packed in for the afterlife! Apart from a mighty reputation across countries and ages, what does the watermelon seeds have in store for you?
The Seed Of Health
Watermelon seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. A watermelon seed consists of 31.9% protein, 4.4% carbohydrates, 57.1% fat, 8.2% fiber, and also has many amino acids like leucine, tryptophan, isoleucine, arginine, and valine.1 It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA, a 100 gm serving of watermelon seeds contains 54 mg calcium, 7.2 mg iron, 514 mg magnesium and 755 mg of phosphorus.2
Calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus play an important role in many bodily functions, serving as cofactors in enzyme systems, helping with communication between muscles and nerves, and, in the case of iron, maintaining the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.3 Our daily diet doesn’t always provide these micronutrients in adequate quantities. So a good measure of these nutty seeds can help correct any deficiency.
The fat in watermelon seeds is mostly linoleic acid, which is involved in energy production, hemoglobin synthesis, oxygen transfer to blood, cell division, and neural functions.When consumed in moderate amounts, linoleic acid can do your body a lot of good.4
Turn Down The Pressure
Watermelon seeds have been found particularly helpful with maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Watermelon seeds contain a compound called cucurbocitrin which helps in widening blood capillaries. Research has found that the seeds lower blood pressure because of this vasodilatory effect.5 Watermelon seeds are also rich in arginine, an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce and which has to be procured from food. Arginine promotes the flexibility of blood vessels and also helps to keep their insides smooth, thereby increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.6
Lower Your Cholesterol
The major component of watermelon seeds is unsaturated fatty acids, mainly linoleic acid.7 Research has shown that linoleic acid can lower cholesterol levels. A study in 1998 found that hamsters fed linoleic acid not only showed lower cholesterol levels but also had less early atherosclerosis.8
Watermelon Seeds In Alternative Medicine
Naturopathy recommends watermelon seed tea as a remedy for kidney stones. The tea is prepared by grinding a handful of watermelon seeds, steeping them in hot water for ten to fifteen minutes and then straining them. You can add a little honey to sweeten it.9
Watermelon seed tea has also been used down the ages for bladder infections as it’s known to be a diuretic and can flush out the urinary system.10
According to Ayurveda, the ancient system of Indian medicine, melon seeds have cooling, soothing, diuretic, and nutritive effects. If you have problems urinating or feel a burning sensation every time you do, an infusion of watermelon seeds can help. They can also reduce high blood pressure, especially when combined with poppy seeds and almonds.11
Traditional Chinese medicine advocates cooking rice porridge in a decoction of watermelon seeds to help with diabetes. This preparation is supposed to clear heat from the body, nourish the stomach, and reduce thirst.12
High On Energy
Watermelon seeds definitely have many health benefits. However, do keep in mind that it is also a high-energy food. A 100 gm serving will give you 535 calories and 65 percent of that comes from fat.13 So watermelon seeds are best enjoyed in moderation!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Razavi, Seyed MA, and Elnaz Milani. “Some physical properties of the watermelon seeds.” African Journal of Agricultural Research 1, no. 3 (2006): 065-069.|
|2.||↑||National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, United States Department of Agriculture.|
|3.||↑||Clarkson, PRISCILLA M., and EMILY M. Haymes. “Exercise and mineral status of athletes: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 27, no. 6 (1995): 831-843.|
|4.||↑||Preedy, Victor R., Ronald Ross Watson, and Vinood B. Patel, eds. Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2011.|
|5.||↑||Evans, William, and Owen Loughnan. “The drug treatment of hyperpiesia.” British heart journal 1, no. 3 (1939): 199.|
|6.||↑||Matthews, K. and Pratt, S. SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. Random House. 2015.|
|7.||↑||Milovanović, Mirjana, and Ksenija Pićurić-Jovanović. “Characteristics and composition of melon seed oil.” Journal of Agricultural Sciences 50, no. 1 (2005): 41-47.|
|8.||↑||Nicolosi, R. J., E. J. Rogers, D. Kritchevsky, J. A. Scimeca, and P. J. Huth. “Dietary conjugated linoleic acid reduces plasma lipoproteins and early aortic atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic hamsters.” Artery 22, no. 5 (1996): 266-277.|
|9.||↑||Monte, Tom. The Complete Guide to Natural Healing. Penguin. 1997.|
|10.||↑||Pagano, John OA, and Harry K. Panjwani. Healing psoriasis: the natural alternative. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.|
|11.||↑||Manohar, Murli. Ayurveda for all. V&S Publishers, 2012.|
|12.||↑||Flaws, Bob, Lynn M. Kuchinski, and Robert Casanas. The Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus with Chinese Medicine: A Textbook & Clinical Manual. Blue Poppy Enterprises, Inc., 2002.|
|13.||↑||Bader, Myles H. The Wizard of Food’s Encyclopedia of Kitchen & Cooking Secrets. Strategic Book Publishing, 2010.|