As you know, the watermelon is one of those ubiquitous fruits of summer barbecues, celebrations, and picnics. There’s truly nothing like a slice of cold, sweet, thirst-quenching watermelon on a hot summer day and watermelon is even mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. Watermelon seeds were also found in the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen in the second century B.C. Mark Twain, a classic US writer once said, “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what angels eat.”
First, let’s peel back the nutritional information about the watermelon rind, or skin, of the fruit.
Most people discard this hard green rind of a juicy watermelon, but don’t be so hasty! That watermelon rind has many benefits. Whether you eat the rind or use it topically, this oft-wasted food can do good things for your body. Finding a use for it also helps cut down on the amount of garbage you produce, as well as the fly population, so it’s good for the environment as well.
Tart, homemade, watermelon pickles are primarily a Southern delicacy that can stretch your food budget and offer an inexpensive alternative to store-bought pickles. It also makes good relishes or jam. Cut the rind into spears or chunks, or even shred it for recipes. The crunch and texture mimics pickles that are made from cucumbers, and you get your dollar’s worth out of the whole fruit.
The rind isn’t as juicy as the flesh but it is low in calories. A 1-inch cube of watermelon rind contains 1.8 calories. The majority of the calories come from carbohydrates, with 0.32 g per serving. One serving provides 2 % of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and 1 % of the vitamin B-6. This makes watermelon rind good for your skin, immune system and nervous system.
Watermelon rind contains more citrulline (an antioxidant) than the fruit itself does. Citrulline has wide range of medicinal benefits, including the ability to relax blood vessels. Antioxidants protect you from free-radical damage. Citrulline converts to arginine, which is an amino acid that is vital to the heart, circulatory system and immune system. Arginine increases nitric oxide which mimics the drugs that are used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Eating watermelon rind may help prevent acne breakouts, but you can also rub the rind on your acne as a way of naturally clearing up your face or other areas affected.
What? You want me to eat my watermelon seeds, too?
Yes! Don’t painstakingly pick out the seeds before eating a watermelon, and don’t spit out the seeds if you’re one of the lazy folks. Chew them up and swallow them! And, all jokes aside, no, they won’t make you pregnant or pile up in your appendix or grow in your stomach.
However, take note of the caloric and protein wallop they will give you if eat a lot of them!
Dry watermelon seeds: 100 grams (just under a cup) will set you back 557 calories, 10g saturated fat , 99 mg sodium, 15 carbohydrates, and an awesome 28 grams of protein, 40% iron, 5% calcium, and 47 grams of total fat.
By contrast, the watermelon fruit we all know and love, in that same 100 grams, you get only 30 calories, 0 fat, 1 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrates, 1g protein. Sounds like those little seeds are much larger, nutritionally, than that giant fruit, eh?
However, you must chew the watermelon seeds for them to be useful. Simply swallowing the seeds will not offer you the same nutritional benefits of the goodness listed below.
A 100-gram serving of dried watermelon seeds provides 10mg (70% DV) of zinc, 11mg (74 %DV) per cup, and 3 mg (19% DV) per ounce and are one of the highest sources of zinc which is a mineral required daily for our bodies. A zinc deficiency may give you hair loss, diarrhea and an impaired immune system. Adults should consume about 15 mg of zinc per day.
Watermelon seeds contain 2 g of iron per 1 ounce serving. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, which leaves you feeling weak and fatigued so it’s important to consume enough iron (8 mg) on a daily basis via many sources, including watermelon seeds.
Watermelon seeds contain several types of amino acids, including those referred to as essential and non-essential.
Watermelon seeds are about 35% protein. However, an ounce of dried watermelon seeds contain 158 calories and 13 grams of fat which means they are a high-fat source of protein because watermelon seeds are also made up of oil.
In addition to watermelon oil and protein, the other major component of the seed is dietary fiber, to help maintain a healthy digestive tract. However, this part of the seed is not digestible, so it simply adds bulk, which helps stool to pass more easily through your intestines.
An Important Word about Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a measure of how food affects blood sugar and insulin levels over time. High glycemic foods make blood sugar rise quickly which leads to an increase in the secretion of the hormone, insulin, from the pancreas to redistribute blood sugar to your cells, tissues and muscles. Low glycemic index foods keep blood sugar levels in a more stable state.
A glycemic index between 50 to 70 is moderate while 70 to 100 is high. Watermelon’s GI index is between 72 to 80, which is borderline high and this will have a significant effect on insulin release from the pancreas. This may cause a mildly low blood sugar drop a few hours later after consumption.
This high glycemic index means that the best time to eat watermelon is before exercising. Eating a small snack one hour before exertion is necessary to have the most effective workout by raising available blood sugar levels, One half cup or even one cup of watermelon is a good choice for a small pre-exercise snack glucose is released into the bloodstream immediately after consuming it and muscles will have a lot of available energy for a good workout.