Save Your Watermelon Seeds to Create a Nutritious Summer Snack
Often there is a joke made at a summer picnic or barbecue about how if you eat the watermelon seeds, a full-size watermelon will grow in your stomach. Although this is usually said in a humorous matter, many people actually believe that watermelon seeds are poisonous or can have negative effects on our health. However, this is not the case. Watermelon seeds can be consumed as any other edible nut or seed; they can be added to smoothies, enjoyed on top of salads or eaten plain for a snack. They are packed with essential nutrients and add to the daily values our body’s need.
How to Eat Them
When choosing to snack on watermelon seeds, you should choose the black seeds because they are the most nutritious, and also taste the best. The seeds can be enjoyed either after they have sprouted, roasted, or they can be concentrated to make watermelon seed oil.
Sprouting the seeds is one of the best ways to eat them because you retain the full protein concentration. You can sprout watermelon seeds on your own though a simple task that is outlined in this link, (https://www.vegetariantimes.com/skills/how-to-soak-sprout-nuts-seeds-grains-beans) or you can purchase pre-sprouted seeds from a grocery store. Pictured below are “Go Raw” sprouted seeds we have in the office.
Roasting seeds is a quicker option if you don’t have the time, or patience to wait for the seeds to sprout. Just cook them at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until they are crispy. You can enjoy them plain or lightly season them with herbs and spices.
Finally, you can contract oil from the seeds. This process is usually not easily done at home; however, many natural health food stores sell the watermelon seed oil that you can use to finish savory dishes or add to salad dressings.
Raw watermelon seeds are not only a good snack option because they taste good, but they are also packed full of nutrients.
Watermelon seeds are very high in protein. 1 cup of dried seeds contain 30.6 g of protein. The protein in the watermelon seeds consist mostly of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that make up a large portion of our cells, muscles and tissues. Eating watermelon seeds gives your body nutrients to carry out important bodily functions and gives cells their structure.
Watermelon seeds are high in the good type of fats, or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These fats contain omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential for our bodies and can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Besides protein and good fats, watermelon seeds also contain a high amount of magnesium. Magnesium is essential to the body’s metabolic functions as well as maintaining nerve and muscle function. Magnesium is often recommended as a sports recovery supplement. Instead of the supplement, you could grab a handful of watermelon seeds after you exercise for the same effect. Minerals such as phosphorous, iron, potassium, sodium, copper, manganese and zinc are also found in watermelon seeds.
Lastly, watermelon seeds are low in calorie compare to other snacks. 1 ounce of watermelon seeds contain 158 calories, while 1 ounce of potato chips contain 160 calories. That might not seem like watermelon seeds are better for you, but there are about 400 seeds in 1 ounce, which would be hard to eat in one sitting. While there are about 15 potato chips in 1 ounce which most people consume without a second thought. So, a handful of watermelon seeds, or most likely the amount that people will grab on-the-go would be around 4 grams, which is about 20 calories, a lot better for you than potato chips.
At your next barbecue or cook out try saving the watermelon seeds, or pick them up during your next trip to the grocery store. They are a nutrient packed seed that will give your snacks and salads a healthy twist this summer!
References: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/12174fgcd=&manu=&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=watermelon+seeds&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=; https://www.livestrong.com/article/24243-health-benefits-watermelon-seeds/
Sarah Domino, Penn State Intern