Melon Seeds Benefits – Health Benefits of Egusi
Melon seeds are often consumed as a snack or used in cooking. They can be roasted and salted for a tasty and nutritious snack, similar to pumpkin seeds.
In West Africa, melon seed is frequently cultivated and eaten, and it is well known that the seed is high in both fat and oil. It is mostly used in Nigeria to make the delicious soup known as egusi soup, however it can occasionally be used to thicken soups.
Due to the high oil content of melon seeds, they can be processed into oil and used as a cooking vegetable oil.
The melon seeds are fermented to make locust beans (iru) or ogiri, a spice that stands out from other fermented foods like soy beans.
Nutritional Values of Melon Seed (Egusi)
Nutrients that can be found in abundance in melon seeds are fats, proteins, vitamins, Magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, dietary fiber, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
You must be careful with your servings because these seeds contain a lot of fats and calories. 600 calories are in one cup of crushed melon seeds.
The wild gourd known as egusi has bitter flesh and extremely dry skin. Though they resemble watermelon seeds in appearance, egusi or white melon seeds have a very different flavor.
- Calories 593
- Carbohydrates: 11.3g
- Fat: 47.9g
- Protein: 27.5g
- Fiber: 3.2g
- Calcium: 16% of the (RNI)
- Iron: 42% of the RNI
- Zinc: 75% of the RNI
- Potassium: 18.5% of the RNI
- Phosphorus: 157% of the RNI
What Is Melon Seeds?
Melon seeds are the edible seeds found inside various types of melons, such as white melon seeds, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, and other melon varieties. These seeds are typically small, oval-shaped, and covered by a hard outer shell or husk. They come in a range of colors, depending on the melon variety, with some being white, while others are black or brown.
In some cultures, melon seeds are considered a source of healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients. They are believed to have potential health benefits, such as providing essential minerals like magnesium and zinc, and may contribute to a well-balanced diet.
Is Melon Seeds Safe to Eat?
Melon seeds from different melon varieties are generally safe to eat, some people may find them bitter or less palatable than other types of seeds. In Africa Melon seeds (Egusi) is mostly used for soup. Additionally, seedless melon varieties have become increasingly popular because they eliminate the need to deal with seeds altogether.
Health Benefits of Melon seeds – Egusi Health Benefits
Melon seeds, like many seeds and nuts, can offer several potential health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Here are some of the health benefits associated with melon seeds:
Melon Seed Benefits – Rich in Nutrient
Melon seeds are a good source of essential nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron.
Egusi, along with the oil, contains vitamin A, which makes it suitable for consumption considering its role in improving eye vision and other functions.
Melon Seed Benefits – Good Source Protein
Melon seeds are relatively high in protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle health, and maintaining a strong immune system.
Melon Seed Benefits – Heart Health
The healthy fats found in melon seeds, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can contribute to heart health by helping to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Melon Seed Benefits -Bone Health
Melon seeds contain minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which are important for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Adequate calcium intake is crucial for preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Melon Seed Benefits – Magnesium Content
Melon seeds are a good source of magnesium, which plays a role in muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure management.
Melon Seed Benefits – Antioxidants Properties
Melon seeds contain antioxidants like vitamin E, which can help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases and aging.
Melon Seed Benefits – Improve Digestive Health
The dietary fiber in melon seeds can aid digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Promote Skin Health – Melon Seed Benefits
Some of the nutrients in melon seeds, such as vitamin E and zinc, may contribute to healthy skin by promoting collagen production and protecting the skin from damage.
In addition to assisting in the development and regulation of blood cells, iron and other minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and even sodium also work to prevent anemia and other blood-related illnesses.
Potential Nutrient Deficiency Prevention
Consuming melon seeds as part of a balanced diet can help prevent nutrient deficiencies, particularly in areas where certain nutrients are lacking in the local diet.
It can also be used as a baby meal supplement, particularly in areas where there is malnutrition.
Side Effect of Melon seeds
Melon seeds are generally safe to eat for most people when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, like many foods, there can be side effects or potential concerns associated with their consumption. Here are some considerations:
High Fat Content
Egusi soup is rich in oil could increase cholesterol level if consumed in excess. Egusi also contains saturated fat, therefore it’s important to eat sensibly and appropriately.
Certain individuals may be allergic to melon seeds, which could lead to allergic reactions ranging from mild symptoms like itching, swelling, or hives to more severe symptoms like difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. If you suspect an allergy to melon seeds, it’s important to seek medical attention.
High Calorie and Fat Content
Melon seeds are calorie-dense due to their fat content, which can contribute to weight gain if consumed excessively. If you’re watching your calorie intake or trying to lose weight, it’s essential to consume melon seeds in moderation.
Eating too many melon seeds at once may lead to digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea, especially if you’re not used to consuming a significant amount of dietary fiber or fats. Gradually introducing melon seeds into your diet can help mitigate these effects.
Some types of melon seeds, like pumpkin seeds, contain oxalates, compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk for them, it’s advisable to moderate your intake of seeds high in oxalates.
In some cases, melon seeds may become contaminated with fungi that produce mycotoxins, which can be harmful if ingested. Proper storage and handling of melon seeds can help reduce this risk.
It’s important to note that while melon seeds offer these potential health benefits, they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Eating excessive amounts of seeds or nuts can lead to excessive calorie intake, and some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to them. If you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.