Often used in seed-spitting contests, watermelon seeds can make for an entertaining afternoon of summer fun, but they are also edible. Watermelon seeds are low in saturated fat and sodium and supply several key nutrients, some in impressive doses for such a tiny food.
Watermelon Seed Basics
A 1-ounce serving of dried watermelon seeds contains 158 calories and 13.4 grams of fat, of which 2.7 grams are saturated. Watermelon seeds also contain about 10 grams of unsaturated fats. Getting most of your fat intake in the form of unsaturated fats is one way to help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. An ounce of watermelon seeds also supplies 8 grams of protein, which is 17 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and 14 percent of the 56 grams men require each day.
One ounce of dried watermelon seeds contains about 2 milligrams of iron, which translates to one-fourth of the 8 milligrams men need each day and 11 percent of the 18 milligrams women require each day. Iron is necessary for healthy red blood cells, which move oxygen through your body. You'll also get 146 milligrams of magnesium, a mineral essential for muscle, heart and kidney health. That amount is 46 percent of the 320 milligrams women need daily and 35 percent of the 420 milligrams men require each day. Watermelon seeds deliver a good amount of zinc, which is necessary for wound healing.
Watermelon seeds contain trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. They supply a more impressive amount of niacin: One ounce of dried watermelon seeds supplies 1 milligram of niacin, which is 7 percent of the 14 milligrams women need each day and 6 percent of the 16 milligrams men require daily. Niacin helps you make energy from the foods you eat. It promotes the normal function of your digestive system and also helps keep your skin healthy and nerves working normally.
Watermelon Seeds in Your Diet
Dried watermelon seeds, available at many health food stores, are easy to add to your diet. Scatter them over a kale and tomato or macaroni salad for added nutrients and a crunchy texture. Stir watermelon seeds into yogurt and top with fresh watermelon cubes for a tasty and nutritious snack or dessert.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Seeds, Watermelon Seed Kernels, Dried
- American Heart Association: Knowing Your Fats
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Zinc
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Niacin
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