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.
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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.
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.