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Seeds of Fruits: 5 Fruit Seeds to Improve Your Health

Top 5 Fruit Seeds to Incorporate in Your Diet

Enhancing your diet can be as simple as incorporating nutrient-packed fruit seeds. These tiny powerhouses are rich in essential proteins, fibers, minerals, and other beneficial plant-based bioactive compounds contributing to overall well-being. Here are five fruit seeds that can become nutritious additions to your daily diet:

1. Watermelon Seeds

Watermelon seeds stand out among fruit seeds. When consumed correctly, they have a flavor similar to sunflower seeds. Like other nuts and seeds, they are rich in protein, low in carbohydrates, and high in minerals such as magnesium and iron. For instance, one ounce (approximately 28 grams) of watermelon seeds contains 4 grams more protein and 2 grams fewer carbohydrates than almonds.

Here is the nutritional value for 100 grams of dried watermelon seeds. Note that you might only require a handful, approximately 4 grams, which amounts to about 23 calories.

  • Calories: 557 Kcal

  • Protein: 28.3 g

  • Carbohydrates: 15.3 g

  • Fat: 47.4 g

  • Potassium: 648 mg

  • Phosphorous: 755 mg

  • Magnesium: 515 mg

  • Calcium: 54 mg

  • Zinc: 10.2 mg

  • Iron: 7.28 mg

  • Folate: 58 µg

Watermelon seeds are also a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, zinc, and various minerals, including magnesium. A 4-gram serving provides 21 mg of magnesium, constituting 5% of the daily value. Zinc is crucial for the immune system.

Best Ways to Use Watermelon Seeds for Health Benefits:

  • Roasted Snack: Clean, dry, and lightly roast the seeds with a sprinkle of salt or your favorite spices.

  • Seed Butter: Blend roasted watermelon seeds until smooth to create a nutrient-rich seed butter.

  • Salad Topping: Add a crunchy texture to your salads by sprinkling roasted seeds on top.

  • Baking Ingredient: Incorporate ground watermelon seeds into your dough for bread, cookies, or muffins.

  • Granola Mix: Mix roasted watermelon seeds into your homemade granola.

2. Papaya Seeds

While papayas are primarily known for their sweet flesh, the seeds are also edible and offer numerous health benefits. Papaya seeds are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants, and they contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid. They are also effective in treating food poisoning and eliminating intestinal parasites.

Papaya seed extract can combat infections like E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Studies show that children consuming porridge fortified with papaya seeds experienced a significant reduction in Ascaris lumbricoides, a large roundworm.

Despite their benefits, the USDA does not provide specific nutritional information for papaya seeds. However, studies indicate they contain:

  • Fatty acids

  • Protein

  • Fiber

  • Papaya oil

  • Carpaine

  • Benzyl isothiocyanate

  • Benzyl glucosinolate

  • Glucotropacolin

  • Benzylthiourea

  • Hentriacontane

  • β-Sitosterol

  • Caricin

  • Enzyme Myrosin

Best Ways to Use Papaya Seeds for Health Benefits:

  • Salad Dressing: Grind fresh papaya seeds to mix into a homemade dressing.

  • Smoothie Booster: Add a teaspoon of papaya seeds to your morning smoothie.

  • Natural Pepper Substitute: Use dried and ground papaya seeds as a black pepper alternative.

  • Meat Tenderizer: The papain enzyme in papaya seeds can tenderize meat.

  • Digestive Aid: Consuming a small quantity of fresh seeds directly can aid digestion.

3. Avocado Seed

Avocado, typically known for its creamy flesh, contains a single large seed that is often discarded. Although information about the seed’s composition is limited, it includes fatty acids, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and a modest amount of protein. In Nigeria, people use extracts from avocado seeds to manage high blood pressure. Research indicates avocado seed extracts have health-promoting properties, acting as potent antioxidants, fighting microbes, and having anti-cancer properties.

Best Ways to Use Avocado Seed for Health Benefits:

  • Smoothie Booster: Grate the avocado seed into a fine powder and add it to smoothies.

  • Tea: Chop the seed into small pieces, boil for 10-15 minutes, and enjoy as a tea.

  • Homemade Face Scrub: Dry and grind the seed into a powder and mix with coconut oil.

  • Plant Growth Supplement: Crush the seed and mix it into the soil as a natural fertilizer.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Often mistaken for vegetables, pumpkins are classified as fruits. Pumpkin seeds are one of the finest natural sources of magnesium, helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure, heart health, and bone health.

Here is the nutritional value of 100 grams of pumpkin seeds, as per USDA:

  • Calories: 559 Kcal

  • Protein: 30.2 g

  • Carbohydrates: 10.7 g

  • Dietary fiber: 6 g

  • Fat: 49 g

  • Potassium: 809 mg

  • Phosphorous: 1230 mg

  • Magnesium: 592 mg

  • Calcium: 46 mg

  • Zinc: 7.81 mg

  • Iron: 8.82 mg

  • Vitamin C: 1.9 mg

  • Folate: 58 µg

Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic acids. They contain small amounts of vitamin E and carotenoids and are a good fiber source. Diets high in fiber reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In males, pumpkin seeds can enhance sperm quality due to their zinc content.

Best Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds for Health Benefits:

  • Chikki or Bars: Incorporate roasted seeds into homemade chikki or energy bars.

  • Protein-Packed Tadka: Use roasted seeds in the tadka for dals or curries.

  • In Rice Dishes: Mix roasted seeds into biryanis or pulao.

  • As a Flour: Grind seeds into a fine powder and use as a gluten-free flour alternative.

5. Citrus Fruit Seeds

Citrus fruit seeds, including those from lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, are tiny powerhouses of nutrition. Lemon seeds contain trace amounts of salicylic acid, the active component in aspirin, offering natural pain and inflammation relief. Orange seeds can provide an unexpected energy boost.

Nutritional Content and Benefits:

  • Salicylic Acid in Lemon Seeds: Natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

  • Energy Boost from Orange Seeds: Helps elevate energy levels naturally.

  • Antioxidant Properties: Rich in antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress.

Best Ways to Use Citrus Seeds for Health Benefits:

  • Juicing: Incorporate whole citrus fruits, including their seeds, into your juices.

  • Garnish: Finely chop seeds and sprinkle them over salads or desserts.

  • Smoothie Add-ins: Add a few seeds to your smoothies.

  • Homemade Citrus Seed Extract: Dry and grind seeds to make an extract.

The recommended serving size varies depending on the type of seed. A general guideline is to aim for approximately two tablespoons daily.

Fruit Seeds: What to Avoid

While some seeds are beneficial, others can be harmful. Seeds from fruits with “stone pits” like cherries, apples, plums, and peaches contain a compound that converts to hydrogen cyanide when digested, making it highly poisonous. These seeds are encased in a hard shell for a reason and are not suitable for consumption. Some seeds contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that binds to minerals and reduces their absorption. Soaking or sprouting seeds before consumption can help reduce phytic acid levels.

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The Final Word

Fruit seeds are often overlooked but are nutritional powerhouses, offering plant-based sources of omega-3s, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating seeds into your diet can bring numerous health benefits, such as cholesterol control, improved heart health, enhanced immune function, and fertility support. Seeds from watermelon, papaya, avocado, and pumpkin each offer unique nutritional profiles that contribute to overall well-being.

Adding these seeds to your meals is easy, whether in smoothies, salads, yogurt, or energy bites. However, caution is necessary as certain fruit seeds, especially those with “stone pits” like cherries and apples, may contain toxic compounds and should be avoided.

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