Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Health Benefits of Watermelon Seeds

When you think of the health benefits of watermelon, the seeds probably don't come to mind. You probably think about the sweet, juicy pulp, with the seeds an afterthought and maybe good only for spitting contests. 
The fact is, watermelon seeds make a great snack when they have been dried and roasted; the United States Department of Agriculture, lists several important nutritional components of watermelon seeds.


Watermelon seeds are very high in protein, with 1 cup of dried seeds containing 30.6g, which is 61 percent of the daily recommended value. The protein in watermelon seeds consists of several amino acids, one of which is arginine. While the body produces some arginine, MedlinePlus states that some health conditions may benefit from additional arginine. Some of the health benefits of arginine include regulating blood pressure and treating coronary heart disease. Several other amino acids make up the protein in watermelon seeds, including tryptophan, glutamic acid, and lysine.

B Vitamins

Watermelon seeds are also loaded with several of the B vitamins. The American Cancer Society reports that B vitamins are necessary for converting food into energy and other important bodily functions. The most prevalent B vitamin in watermelon seeds is niacin, with 1 cup of dried watermelon seeds containing 3.8mg, which is 19 percent of the daily value. Niacin is important for maintaining the nervous system, digestive system and skin health. Other B vitamins in watermelon seeds include folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid.


Minerals abound in watermelon seeds. Magnesium is the most abundant mineral, weighing in with 556mg, or 139 percent of the recommended daily value, in 1 cup of dried seeds. 
According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and the metabolism of carbohydrates, which has a beneficial effect on blood sugar as well. Other important minerals in watermelon seeds are phosphorous, iron, potassium, sodium, copper, manganese and zinc.

Roasted watermelon seeds come packed with iron. Just an ounce of seeds contains approximately 2 milligrams of iron -- 25 percent of the recommended daily iron intake for men and 11 percent of the RDA for women, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Iron helps you make hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins that help transport and store oxygen in your tissues. Iron also promotes liver function and nourishes your immune system.

Roasted watermelon seeds provide a source of magnesium. Magnesium supports your metabolism so that your cells can produce the energy they need for day-to-day functioning. It also helps your body store energy by helping you make lipids, aids in cell migration and plays a role in cell communication. Each ounce of roasted watermelon seeds provides you with 146 milligrams of magnesium -- 35 percent of the RDA for men and 46 percent for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Roasted watermelon seeds nourish your hair and skin because of their copper content. You need copper to produce melanin -- the pigment that gives your skin and hair their color, and also helps protect you from the sun's harmful rays. It keeps your connective tissue strong and resistant to damage and promotes healthy nervous system function. Watermelon seeds' copper content also plays a role in iron transport, so it can be used to make hemoglobin. An ounce of roasted watermelon seeds boosts your copper intake by 192 micrograms and provides 21 percent of the RDA, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.


The most surprising thing about watermelon seeds is the amount of fat they contain. In 1 cup of dried seeds, there are 51g of fat, with 11 of those being saturated fat. The other fats are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-6 fatty acids. The American Heart Association reports that mono and polyunsaturated fats reduce blood cholesterol, and omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce high blood pressure. The down side of consuming a cup of watermelon seeds is the calorie count -- you'll take in just over 600 calories if you eat the whole cup.

See also:

The Nutrition of Caviar

25 Healthy Breakfast Recipes

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