Most of us will spit watermelon seeds out, but there is research that shows we should actually be eating lots more of them instead. There are now seedless watermelons that you can buy if you really hate the seeds, but they’ve been genetically modified. There are a lot of benefits to be had from eating the seeds, as you will see.

Watermelon and flax seeds are rich in micro-nutrients like selenium, potassium, copper and zinc. They are full of healthy fats, which can decrease your appetite, and strengthen your hair, skin and nails.

A nutrient you might not expect to find in watermelon seeds is iron. An ounce of watermelon seeds has 25 percent of the iron that an adult needs each day. This is great news for vegans and people on a meatless diet.

Preparing Watermelon Seeds

Most people dislike the taste and texture of raw watermelon seeds, which is why preparing them first is a good idea. To get the best from them, they need to be sprouted and shelled first.

Sprouted seeds are germinated and are often higher in nutrients than the non-sprouted versions. Sprouting also removes compounds in the seeds that make it difficult to absorb all the nutrients. You can sprout watermelon seeds yourself, but if you can’t wait for them to sprout or don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself, you can buy sprouted watermelon seeds in a bag, ready to eat or sprinkle on your food.

Health Benefits of Watermelon Seeds

Watermelon seeds are low calorie. One ounce contains around 158 calories, which is roughly 400 watermelon seeds! That’s too many to eat in one go. A handful of watermelon seeds has around 56 seeds and only 22 calories.

Magnesium is found in watermelon seeds, which is essential for many of the body’s metabolic functions. A 4 gram serving of seeds has around 21 mg of magnesium.

Another essential nutrient found in watermelon seeds is folate, also known as folic acid, or vitamin B-9.

There’s a lot of talk about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats these days, but watermelon seeds contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The American Heart Association says these fats are great for protecting against heart attacks and strokes, and can help lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

While watermelon seeds may not be your go-to choice for a healthy snack, just a handful or two a day can go a long way to adding to your essential vitamins and minerals.