Watermelon is a crisp summery fruit that is a staple at barbecues and picnics. Yet, there is one aspect of watermelon that you may be ignoring -- the watermelon seeds. Watermelon seeds have nutritional value and can be made into a tasty treat for you and your family. The seeds are rich in protein and some essential minerals. Although watermelon seeds are also relatively high in fat, the fatty acids are largely unsaturated.
Dietary protein is composed of both essential and non-essential amino acids -- watermelon seed proteins contain both kinds. Amino acids are the building blocks for new proteins that are made in your body, including muscle proteins, enzymes and proteins that transport smaller molecules through your blood to your tissues. Watermelon seeds are comprised of 28 percent protein, or 8 grams per ounce. Therefore, 1 ounce of watermelon seeds provides about 14 percent of the protein recommended dietary allowance for a 150-pound woman.
Zinc is a mineral required for healthy body functioning, including your sense of smell, nutrient metabolism, building proteins and genetic material, repairing damaged skin and maintaining your immune system. If you do not get enough zinc in your daily diet, you may observe symptoms such as hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin disorders, impaired appetite and depressed immunity. Adult women should consume about 8 milligrams of zinc per day -- 11 to 12 milligrams per day during pregnancy and lactation. A 100-gram serving of watermelon seeds contains 10 milligrams of zinc, while each ounce contains 3 milligrams of zinc.
A 1-ounce serving of watermelon seeds contains 2 milligrams of iron. Other sources of iron include oysters, beef, turkey, chicken, tuna and pork. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should consume 18 milligrams of iron per day. Your iron requirement increases to 27 milligrams per day during pregnancy. Your body requires iron to maintain red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues. Because iron deficiency can result in anemia -- leaving you feeling weak and fatigued -- it is important to consume enough iron on a daily basis via sources that may include watermelon seeds.
It is important to note that an ounce of dried watermelon seeds contains 158 calories and 13 grams of fat -- making watermelon seeds a relatively high-calorie, high-fat protein source. However, the fatty acids in watermelon seed oil are about 78 percent unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are important components of all of your tissue cell membranes and may help to lower your blood cholesterol levels. The American Heart Associations recommends limiting your total fat intake to 25 to 35 percent of your total daily caloric intake and saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26: Seeds, Watermelon Seed Kernels, Dried
- Healthaliciousness.com: Top 10 Foods Highest in Zinc
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Dietary Reference Intakes - Macronutrients
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Dietary Reference Intakes - Vitamins and Elements
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.