It may come as no surprise that despite what we were told as children, swallowing a watermelon seed will not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. Yet many people still try to avoid eating the seeds for various reasons. Some people worry that watermelon seeds contain harmful chemicals, and some just think they're tasteless and annoying.

watermelon, vegetable, melon, pasture
Katherine Baker

So what really happens when you eat watermelon seeds? Do you digest them, or do they just pass right through you? When you swallow watermelon seeds raw, not much happens. They basically just move through your digestive tract without being digested, similar to what happens when you swallow a piece of gum.

sweet, candy, dairy product, goody, milk
Jennifer Cao

However, a little known fact is that when prepared correctly watermelon seeds actually have many health benefits, as they are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.

According to the Huffington Post, about 1/8 of a cup of watermelon seeds contains 10 grams of protein. In order to experience the full nutritional benefits of watermelon seeds, there is a little bit of labor required, as they need to be sprouted, shelled, and dried.

So instead of avoiding them or using them for seed-spitting contests, you should actually be taking them out of the watermelon and saving them to be sprouted and eaten. 

Why can't you just eat the seeds straight out of the watermelon? Well, you can, but you won't really experience any sort of nutritional benefits. The black shell of the seed seals off the endosperm and other nutrients hidden inside that give the seed its flavor and nutrition.

watermelon, vegetable, sweet
Kathleen Lee

When sprouted, the black shell of the seed is removed and the nutrients, along with the yummy flavor, are released. You can sprout the seeds yourself by following this instructional guide, or you could buy them already sprouted from websites like Go Raw.

Not only are watermelon seeds completely safe to swallow, but they actually have many health benefits when prepared correctly!