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Does eating watermelon seeds give nutrients to the body?

Photo Credit: 1stnews.com 5 mins read

CLAIM: People should eat watermelon with the seeds as it contains vital nutrients essential to the body.

Viral post on WhatsApp advising people to eat watermelon with the seeds because it is enriched with a lot of essential minerals and vitamins is TRUE. 

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Recently, a viral message on social media, especially on WhatsApp claimed that watermelon seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense varieties of seeds, which are rich in proteins, vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium which are all vital nutrients. 

Many people in Africa believe in the efficacy of herbs in treating different diseases. These days, it is common to see claims about these cures on social media. While many of such claims may not be true, others are. 

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a flowering plant species of the Cucurbitaceae family and the name of its edible fruit. A scrambling and trailing, vine-like plant, it was originally domesticated in Africa. It is a highly cultivated fruit worldwide, with more than 1,000 varieties. 

Watermelon                                                                                          Source: Britanica.com 

Watermelon is an incredibly hydrating fruit as it contains around 92 percent of water, and is enriched with a lot of essential minerals and vitamins. This succulent melon also contains a lot of seeds, which we generally throw away after consumption. 

Verification

Dubawa researched why watermelon seed is believed to be an essential seed.

A search on the website of Science Publishing Group, an independent international publisher of open access, online, peer-reviewed journals covers a wide range of academic disciplines. 

The Group has a post in the International Journal on Nutrition and Food Nutrition containing research carried out by Faustina Dufie Wireko-Manu an Associate Professor in Food Science and Technology, Dr. Jacob K. Agbenorhevi a Senior Lecturer, Elsa I. Ompouma and Betty Tabiri, all of the Department of Food Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. 

The research titled ‘Watermelon Seeds as Food: Nutrient Composition, Phytochemicals and Antioxidant Activity’ was published on March 30, 2016.

Screenshot of journal 

The research recognised the fact that watermelon seeds are often discarded while the fruit is eaten. 

The study analyzed seeds of three varieties of watermelon (Charleston gray, Crimson sweet and Black diamond) for their proximate, minerals, phytochemicals, total phenols content and antioxidant activity. 

The proximate analysis and phytochemicals screening were performed using standard procedures whereas mineral content was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

Screenshots of findings 

The study showed that watermelon seeds are a rich source of fibre and minerals that are essential in the body system. 

The Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin and a Professor of Food Science and Technology Mrs Yinka Ramota Karim, stated that the watermelon seeds contain a high level of magnesium which is essential for many of the body’s metabolic functions, maintains nerve and muscle functions as well as immune, heart and bone health.

She added: “The seeds of the watermelon improves skin health by treating acne, blemishes, wrinkles and ageing, helps in strengthening the hair, improves heart health, boosts the immune system, improves male fertility, boosts energy levels among others.” 

Similarly, a food nutritionist, Mrs Yejide Akinseyin stated that watermelon seeds are one of the secrets of nature that can be used for many things that benefits the body like a snack ( roasted and milled into flour for the production of snack), salad dressings, especially the oils expressed from it and smoothies.

“Although patients who are suffering from low blood sugar are advised not to consume much of this seed as it has the ability to further lower blood pressure which may lead to sudden death, apart from that the watermelon seed is very nutritious and safe for every healthy individual,” she said.

An article posted in the Times of India highlighted the amazing health benefits of eating watermelon seeds which it describes as low in calories and offer an array of micronutrients like copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate etc; which have various health benefits.

Some of them are listed below: 

Good for heart and immunity: 

Watermelon seeds are also linked with stronger immunity and better health. Due to the presence of magnesium these seeds can also cure hypertension, which is directly related to heart health. Consumption of watermelon seeds daily in moderate quantities helps in boosting your heart health and maintaining your blood pressure. 

Makes your bones stronger: 

Watermelon seeds have a high content of minerals like copper, manganese and potassium. And these minerals together with other micronutrients help in making our bones healthier. The seeds are linked with strengthening our bones and also improving bone density. 

Boosts metabolism:

Watermelon seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients like folate, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium. These seeds are considered to be highly nutritious, as they are also rich in amino acids, proteins and vitamin B complex. All these nutrients together help in boosting your body’s metabolism. 

No unhealthy fat: 

They contain certain healthy fats which are extremely important for the body. Watermelon seeds are a good source of healthy fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleum which are required for proper functioning of the body. 

Good for diabetics: 

These black seeds are really helpful in controlling diabetes. It is known to reduce the elevated blood sugar level and therefore can be a good snack option for patients with diabetes. 

Gives you glowing skin: 

Watermelon seed oil is widely used as the main ingredient for cosmetic products that work wonders in treating acne and early signs of ageing. These seeds have antioxidants that help in reversing early skin ageing. Consumption of these seeds can provide your skin with an inner glow. Add a few seeds to your daily diet to get visibly healthy skin. Also, due to the presence of fatty acids, it prevents dryness and provides hydration to the damaged skin. 

The seeds are filled with proteins and iron that are known to improve the texture and quality of hair. It helps in strengthening your hair strands and also promote hair growth. As the seeds are high in magnesium content, they make the hair healthy and in turn prevent hair fall and damage.

How to use watermelon seeds in your daily life: 

Dry the watermelon seeds and roast them in a pan. Store them for many days in airtight containers. This can be a healthy yet delicious snacking option for those who always feel hungry. These will provide you a boost of nutrition and you can add these tiny seeds to your salads or other nuts for that added benefit. If you don’t want to eat it as a seed, then you can make it into a powder to enjoy the same flavour and benefits. 

Conclusion 

Given the evidence available, watermelon seeds are a rich source of fibre and minerals that are essential for the body. Watermelon seeds may provide considerable medicinal, health and economic benefits if freshly consumed or utilized in food products. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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