The many benefits of watermelon seeds make this nutrient-rich food a must-have in your diet. They are packed with nutrients and are an excellent nutritional supplement. Watermelon seeds contain potassium, copper, selenium, zinc and have many health benefits. They can boost your heart health, immunity and control your blood sugar levels.
This article discusses the benefits of watermelon seeds, their nutritional profile, how to use them for maximum benefits, and any potential side effects. Take a look.
In This Article
What Are Watermelon Seeds?
As the name suggests (tarbooj ke beej in Hindi), these are the seeds found in the watermelon fruit. They are low in calories and high in nutrients, and no, they are not poisonous though they may be hard to digest for some.
And they do offer great benefits. Some of those include boosting heart health and immunity and keeping your blood sugar levels under control. The seeds are rich in numerous micronutrients like potassium, copper, selenium, and zinc – nutrients that you may not obtain from your diet in adequate quantities.
You can consume watermelon seeds as they are or in a powdered form. What makes the seeds even more special is their protein and vitamin B content. The seeds can make for a fun and inexpensive snack – something you can munch on in between your meals.
And not just the seeds, but even the seed oil is replete with benefits. The seed oil is extracted after cold pressing sun dried seeds. The oil enjoys great popularity in Western Africa and works miraculously well for your skin and hair. It has excellent moisturizing properties and a subtle texture, which is why it is quite often used in baby oils. The oil is rich in minerals, vitamins, and other essential fatty acids. One of its important ingredients is linoleic acid – which is great for the skin and even prevents heart disease and stroke.
Some people prefer seedless watermelon – the fruit that is developed to possess no mature seeds. And since consuming a seedless fruit (watermelon, especially) is easier and more convenient, it also has a higher commercial value. But from a health perspective, seeded watermelon may be more nutrient-dense.
Can You Eat Watermelon Seeds?
That’s the entire deal, right? And yes, you sure can.
In fact, you should.
You can simply munch on the seeds as you eat the fruit. That’s the easiest way to do it. Or you can eat sprouted watermelon seeds. Eating the sprouted seeds is far more beneficial. This is because you get the full dose of protein and other nutrients. You can eat the seeds after they are sprouted after you have removed the tough black shells. This process might take a few days, but it is worth it. All you need to do is soak the seeds in water overnight (certain proponents of watermelon seeds suggest against soaking as doing so might encourage the development of fungus. However, you will know better only if you try). Wait for a few days until the seeds have visibly sprouted. After this, you can dry them under the sun or in the oven – and you can eat them as a healthy snack.
You can also roast the seeds. Simply spread the seeds on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 15 minutes (325o F). The seeds turn brown and crispy. The downside is you might lose some of the nutritional content – but they are a tasty snack. You can also enhance your snack with some olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Another way to intake the nutrients of watermelon seeds is through their oil. You can buy watermelon seed oil from the market and use it in cooking. You can also drizzle the oil on salads and even use it topically.
The bottom line is – the seeds are great, and you need to include them in your diet. But wait, still not convinced, are you?
But Why Should You Be Eating Them?
This is where we go a little in depth.
Unless you strongly believe that ingesting the seeds can ignite the growth of a large fruit inside your tummy, you can have them. Well, you can have them otherwise, too.
First things first – eating the seeds directly from the fruit is good, but the sprouted ones are better. Just about 1/8 cup of the seeds offers about 10 grams of protein. Sprouting the seeds also removes the compounds in the seeds that make them harder to be absorbed by the body. The seeds are packed with protein, magnesium, vitamin B, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. All of these lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and prevent heart disease and stroke (1).
The protein in watermelon seeds contains several amino acids – one of them being arginine. Our bodies do produce some arginine, but additional arginine has more benefits. It can regulate blood pressure and even aid in the treatment of coronary heart disease. Other amino acids in the protein in watermelon seeds include glutamic acid, tryptophan, and lysine.
The seeds are also rich in B vitamins, which, according to The American Cancer Society, help convert food into energy and support other important bodily functions. Watermelon seeds are rich in niacin, a potent B vitamin that maintains the nervous and digestive systems and skin health. Other B vitamins in watermelon seeds are folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.
The minerals rich in watermelon seeds include iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, sodium, phosphorus, and zinc. And as we saw, the fats in the seeds are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Watermelon Seeds Nutrition Facts
When compared to other snacks out there, watermelon seeds’ nutritional value comes out far ahead. Watermelon seeds are considered to be low in calories and are nutrient-dense with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Check out here what are the watermelon seeds’ nutrients in detail.
Seeds, Watermelon seed kernels, Dried
Nutrition Facts & Calories
Amounts per 1 cup (108g)
Amounts Per Selected Serving
|From Carbohydrate||67.1(281 kJ)|
Amounts Per Selected Serving
|Vitamin C||0.0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||~||~|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||5%|
|Vitamin B12||0.0 mcg||0%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.4 mg||4%|
Amounts Per Selected Serving
|*Percentage daily value are based on a 2000 calorie diet.|
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs
|Source: Nutrient data for this listing was provided by USDA SR-21.|
Still hard to get convinced? Well, it’s time we got to the core of what we are talking about.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Watermelon Seeds?
Watermelon seed benefits are many which include contributing to a strong immune system and a healthy heart and helping improve brain functioning. Some of the important surprising benefits of eating watermelon seeds are being described.
1. Promote Heart Health
The magnesium in watermelon seeds greatly contributes to heart health. It aids in normal heart functioning and regulates blood pressure.
As per a Kentucky study, the beneficial effects of watermelon seeds on the heart could be due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory (widening of blood vessels) properties (2). The seeds are also a rich source of a substance called citrulline, which has been found to reduce aortic blood pressure – ultimately protecting the heart. The extract of the seeds was also found to lower cholesterol levels. Citrulline may also be useful in athletic performance and endurance.
One American study also throws light on the importance of magnesium in this aspect. Magnesium is one of the minerals that contribute to electrolyte balance in the body – a factor important for cardiovascular stability (3). And in patients with congestive heart failure, the presence of sufficient total body magnesium serves as an aid.
Low magnesium concentrations, especially at the time of surgery, can lead to cardiac glycoside toxicity. This basically means deficiency of magnesium can be lethal, more so in heart patients. And electrolyte abnormalities, as we saw, and potentially dangerous for patients with heart failure (4). Magnesium is also important in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat rhythm) (5).
As per a report by the Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, watermelon seeds can help lower blood pressure levels. To achieve this, you can dry the seeds and then boil them in water to drink as tea (6).
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dietary intake of magnesium has been linked to lowered risk of sudden cardiac death. Also, calcium needs magnesium (at precise ratios) to ensure your heart functions properly (7). But then, exercise caution and take advice when it comes to taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium helps the blood vessels relax – but it is also important to note that too much of magnesium can lead to a diuretic effect – excess of the mineral can be lost through urine, and this decreases its levels in the body as well as cause a dangerous electrolyte imbalance (8).
Watermelon seeds are also rich in zinc, which plays a key role in heart health. It regulates the way calcium moves in your heart cells. This is important as excessive calcium levels can lead to heart failure. And patients with congestive heart failure were found to have severe zinc deficiency, which simply explains why this mineral is so important for the heart (9).
2. Strengthen The Immune System
Watermelon seeds, especially the roasted variety, are packed with iron – and the mineral enhances immune function. The B vitamins in the seeds also help in this regard.
And magnesium, as per a Cuban study, has a strong relation to the immune system (10). In another study on rodents, magnesium deficiency was linked to impaired immune function (11). Magnesium also plays a protective role in allergic reactions, suggesting how important it is for our immune system.
3. Improve Male Fertility
The zinc in watermelon seeds is important for the male reproductive system. According to a Chinese study, zinc supplementation can significantly enhance sperm quality of infertile men (12). Also, zinc is only second to iron as the most abundant element in human tissues. And trace elements like zinc play a major role in the male reproductive system as they exhibit high activity at the molecular level. Studies have also found lower levels of zinc in the seminal plasma of infertile men than that in normal males. Though further studies are required, the possibility is encouraging.
The seeds of the watermelon fruit are also good sources of manganese. As per the University of Maryland Medical Center, low levels of manganese can also contribute to infertility (13).
4. Aid Diabetes Treatment
According to an Iranian study, watermelon seeds have positive effects on the accumulation of glycogen stores, which may be able to assist in diabetes treatment (14). The extracts of the seeds are considered antidiabetic, given their ability to decrease plasma glucose levels.
A report by the International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences talks about the omega-6 fatty acids in watermelon seeds, stating that they might help prevent type 2 diabetes (15). Another study links low dietary magnesium intake to the development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (16). Numerous cases of type 2 diabetes were linked to magnesium deficits. And in certain rat studies, magnesium supplementation was found to delay the onset of diabetes. Another study conducted on non-diabetic African Americans showed that low dietary magnesium was associated with insulin resistance.
The magnesium in watermelon seeds was also found to prevent insulin dysregulation (which can cause diabetes) (17). And if you are opting for magnesium supplements, you can go for magnesium threonate – which has been showing promise in the recent times due to its ability to penetrate cell membranes. However, consult your doctor first – as certain experts express their apprehension towards the use of magnesium supplements.
Studies have also found that prediabetics those with borderline diabetic blood sugar levels, almost always have low magnesium intake. The mineral is also vital to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme required for the proper function of insulin receptors. A problematic digestive system and alcoholism can also impair the body’s absorption of magnesium, which might eventually lead to diabetes. Regardless of the person’s weight, magnesium can play a protective role against diabetes (18). It can also lower the blood pressure in diabetes patients.
The zinc in the seeds, as per studies, was found to have beneficial effects on glycemic control. The mineral is also important in insulin action and carbohydrate metabolism. And believe it or not – zinc deficiency is on the rise in several countries, the very same countries with an increase in diabetes cases (19). According to the American Diabetes Association, higher zinc intake is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women (20). However, it is important to note that there could be differences in how people respond to zinc (21). Hence, take advice from your doctor if you are planning to take zinc supplements as all supplements can potentially have side effects or interactions with other supplements and medications.
5. Improve Brain Health
The magnesium in watermelon seeds can help improve memory. It can also fight memory lapses associated with aging (22). Studies also show that magnesium-based treatments can work with great success for age-related memory loss. An American study states that brain magnesium can improve memory and even accelerate learning (23).
Low levels of magnesium have also been linked to Alzheimer’s. It has been found that treating dementia patients with nutritional magnesium can improve memory (24). The mineral can also affect numerous biochemical mechanisms that are important for neuronal function. It has neuroprotective effects, and magnesium treatment at early stages can lower the risk of cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The highest levels of zinc in the body are found in the hippocampus in the brain. The mineral has been used with great success to treat numerous brain ailments and even some forms of schizophrenia (25). Zinc has also been found to improve communication between the neurons and hippocampus – and the absence of this mineral, in numerous studies, had diminished this communication. Deficiency of zinc, over time, can lead to dementia and cognitive decline.
Lowered zinc levels can also cause other brain diseases like Wilson’s disease and Pick’s disease. They can also lead to epileptic seizures in serious cases.
One of the B vitamins watermelon seeds contain is niacin. It is the most prevalent B vitamin in the seeds, and it is important for the nervous system. Certain conditions like brain fog, along with some psychiatric symptoms, were often associated with niacin deficiency (26).
6. Enhance Digestive Health
The magnesium in watermelon seeds activates enzymes that help the body absorb nutrients. This enables the body to break down food and digest it better. It also helps to produce and transport energy during digestion. And a deficiency of magnesium can lead to poor digestion.
Zinc deficiency has also been linked to digestive disorders. It can cause leaky gut syndrome and other issues with stomach acid. In fact, diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of zinc deficiency.
How Do Watermelon Seeds Benefit Hair?
Here are the ways these seeds help in gving you a healthy mane. However, make sure you consult your dermatologist before using the seeds for this purpose.
7. Strengthen Hair
Apart from strengthening hair, magnesium plays a role in preventing hair breakage – consequently promoting hair growth. Low levels of magnesium, as per certain studies, could accelerate hair loss. It is important to note that your hair goes through changes every seven years – and consuming adequate magnesium is one of the ways to preserve your tresses.
As per a Korean study, zinc inhibits hair follicle regression and even accelerates the recovery of hair follicles (27).
How Are The Seeds Good For The Skin?
Watermelon seeds offer numerous benefits when it comes to your skin health. Read on to know what they are. However, make sure you consult your dermatologist before using the seeds for this purpose.
8. Cleanse Skin And Improve Skin Health
The magnesium in the seeds can help improve your skin’s overall appearance. It reduces acne and treats other skin issues. The mineral achieves this by lowering cortisol levels, improving cellular processes, and balancing hormones.
Topical magnesium can also treat redness or rosacea. It cleanses the skin from deep within and prevents any future issues. It can also prevent wrinkles as the enzymes that regulate DNA replication and repair need the mineral to do their job. Also, skin cells that grow without magnesium were found to be twice as likely to suffer from attacks from free radicals.
Skin allergies like eczema are common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Low magnesium levels make the body create histamines – which cause itchy skin (due to the swelling of blood vessels that eventually leak fluid into the skin and tissues). Low levels of magnesium also reduce the levels of fatty acids on the skin – this leads to reduced skin elasticity and moisture, causing inflammation and dry skin.
Magnesium also helps combat stress, which can, in a way, reduce acne. Some rare forms of acne have been linked to zinc deficiency – and since watermelon seeds are rich in zinc, they can help in this regard.
Zinc is also used to treat herpes simplex infections and accelerate wound healing (28).
9. Slow Down Aging
As per studies, magnesium might slow down cellular aging (29). And zinc plays a role in protein synthesis, cell division, and cellular repair – which is why it could help slow down aging.
Well, that’s what we had to see about the benefits of watermelon seeds. And now, how about some interesting facts?
What Are Some Interesting Facts About Watermelon?
- Over 1,200 varieties of the fruit are grown across the world.
- In China and Japan, watermelon is a popular gift to bring to a host.
- Every part of the watermelon is edible – the seeds and even the rinds, though they may be difficult to digest for many people.
- Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide.
- The heaviest watermelon was grown in Tennessee in 2013, and it weighed over 350 pounds.
In case you want to make a yummy snack out of them, you can roast the seeds.
How To Roast Watermelon Seeds?
It’s quite easy. All you need to do is rinse the seeds, and then drain and pat them dry. You can toss the seeds with olive oil and salt (or any other seasoning) and toast them in a skillet until they turn crispy and golden. You might as well use the oven – spread the seeds on a baking sheet (in a single layer) and roast at 325o F for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
And then, you can eat them.
How To Eat Watermelon Seeds?
One way is to eat simply as they are. Another way is to hull the seed first. Which is simple. Just hold a seed vertically (the smaller end must be facing your mouth). Bite the seed and slightly apply pressure on it until you hear it crack. You can slowly crack the seed the same way a little further until you see it exposed.
You can also make watermelon seed tea. Take about 4 tablespoons of fresh watermelon seeds (removed from a fresh watermelon) and 8 cups of water. Grind the watermelon seeds first (you can use a blender or a coffee grinder). Place the water on a stove top and bring it to a boil. Now, pour this boiling water over the ground seeds. Let the seeds steep in the boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes. After the mixture cools down, strain the liquid.
And in case you are wondering…
How Do You Sprout Watermelon Seeds?
Soaking the seeds is the general method followed. But watermelons could be an exception to this rule. Soaking the seeds before planting them might increase the risk of fungal growth – hence, try this for yourself before proceeding.
Also, the seeds are frost sensitive. Exposing them to cold can kill them quickly. Hence, plant the seeds in peat pots about three to four weeks before the last frost date in your area. Once the risks of frost have passed, you can transport the seedlings into the ground.
You can also boost the soil’s fertility for better results. Use 3 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting space.
Boosting the temperature also helps. The warmer the soil, the faster the germination. The seeds take about 10 days to germinate in 70o F, but just 3 days in 90o F. If you are staying indoors, just use a heating pad to increase the temperature. If outdoors, lay a black plastic mulch over the planting site – this helps absorb more sunlight and increase the soil temperature during the day.
And ensure you don’t plant the seeds too deep. Bury them at a depth of ½ to 1 inch. Nothing more.
As we already saw, sprouted watermelon seeds are better than the roasted variant – as the former is richer in nutrients.
We know you have a few more questions. Here you go!
Watermelon seeds are low in calories but rich in nutrients, making them a healthy snack option. You can consume them as seeds or in powdered form, and their micronutrient content may help improve overall health. The many health benefits of watermelon seeds can be attributed to their rich nutritional profile. Intake of watermelon seeds may promote heart health, improve immune health, enhance male fertility, aid in diabetes treatment, and boost brain health. The seeds also exhibit moisturizing properties that help improve skin health. Make them an option in your diet and enjoy their benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are watermelon seeds fattening?
No. Because they form such a small part of your diet, you might have to eat a considerably large mount of the seeds for them to potentially cause weight gain, though any food eaten in excess can cause weight gain.
Why do watermelons have so many seeds?
Scientifically, there is no concrete answer.
But certain botanists believe that animals that tend to eat the fruit also eat the seeds. If they excrete the seeds, that paves the way for the next generation of the fruit. But what if they chew them off? That’s a problem. But what if there are more seeds? The number of seeds escaping the animals’ canines would be relatively more. Problem solved.
Well, that does sound a little funny. But that’s the only answer we have as of now.
Why do watermelons have black and white seeds?
The black seeds are mature and fertile. And the white seeds are just immature black seeds. Watermelons usually contain a mix as not all seeds would have become mature at the same point in time.
How to deseed a watermelon?
Firstly, don’t deseed a watermelon. The seeds are really good. But if you still aren’t convinced of the benefits, sure, you can go ahead.
Take a large knife and cut one inch off the top and bottom of the watermelon. Then, cut it in half crosswise. Place the cut side of the watermelon on a carving board and cut off the ring (using the knife) and discard it. Now, cut the fruit vertically into one-inch thick slices. Work with one slice at a time – gently break the watermelon along the vein of the seeds. Scrape the seeds off and transfer the seedless watermelon portions to a bowl. Repeat with the other slices.
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