Most people grow up spitting out watermelon seeds, or removing them with their fingers and tossing them away. However, watermelon seeds are rich in many of the nutrients we need to stay alive and healthy. While they may not be too flavorsome in their raw form, they can be converted into a tasty treat without a lot of fuss.
What's in a Watermelon Seed?
Watermelon seeds are comprised of about 50 percent oil, 35 percent protein and 5 percent dietary fiber. They are also rich in other nutrients, including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
An old myth that has survived for decades tells us that if we swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in our stomachs. In fact, if you swallow whole, raw watermelon seeds, they will move through your digestive tract without being digested, and will do no harm to your body.
In parts of Asia, roasted watermelon seeds are a favorite snack. Prepared properly and eaten regularly, they help regulate blood sugar levels, making them an excellent snack for diabetics. They also help keep the digestive and nervous systems operating at peak performance. Watermelon seeds are an excellent source of B vitamins and contain nutrients that help maintain healthy skin.
Watermelon seeds are an excellent source of protein. Eating one cup of watermelon seeds each day will provide 61 percent of the recommended daily allowance of protein. Essential amino acids are those amino acids that cannot be created by the body. Watermelon seeds contain some of each essential amino acid.
The Bad News
Just 1 cup of dried watermelon seeds contains 602 calories and about two-thirds of the recommended daily fat intake, half of which is saturated fat. However, the unsaturated fat content facilitates cholesterol reduction and aids in lowering blood pressure.
How to Roast Watermelon Seeds
Rinse the seeds and spread them on paper towels to dry. Once dry, cook them in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until roasted. Add 1 tsp. of salt to 1 cup of hot water to dissolve, and pour over the seeds. Cook until the water is evaporated. Allow to cool, shell them and enjoy.