Summer is coming and with it the promise of sun, hot temperatures and lots of fun! It’s the time to get out and meet with friends. Sandy beaches and green meadows are inviting to have a nice picnic. What do you pack for your picnic? I love to have some fresh salad and juicy fruits, especially watermelon! The refreshing and juicy taste of a big pink slice of watermelon releases tons of dopamine in my body and makes me happy. All of a sudden I feel it – a seed is flushing down my throat! A film unfolds before my eyes: I have a big belly and a watermelon grows inside it!
As I was a child my mother kept telling me to never swallow a watermelon seed because it will grow in my stomach. And now I am sitting here, with a seed inside me and afraid of what will happen next. Time to call the doc or relax and eat some more seeds?
Let’s find out!
Let’s be honest, most likely all of us know watermelon seeds will not grow in your stomach. But why? In the following I will explain how a seed grows, why it cannot grow in your body and why you even should eat seeds!
The process of seeds growing into plants is called germination. A plant seed contains an embryo and a storage of nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) which is wrapped by a coat.
After a phase of dormancy, the seed will become active and start to grow. Several environmental stimuli can end the dormancy. This period is vital since the plant must know when to grow, preferably after wintertime.
The seedling’s root will push into the soil and absorb water from there. Through the water the plant gets its minerals from the soils, supporting the development. The larger the plant grows the larger the root becomes since the plant needs more water. In the same time a stem emerges from the seed and grows upwards. The seed turns into a seedling.
There are two ways a seed can grow (depending on the species):
Hypogeaous germination is observed when a seed grows the part between the seed leaves and the primary leaves first. This way the seed leaves will stay in the soil and perform no photosynthesis.
Epigaic germination occurs when the part between the root and cotyledons (seed leaves) penetrates the soil first and the seed leaves follow, recognizable by the hook it builds. Cotyledons are photosynthetically active until the primary leaves grow.
Once it breaks through the soil the stage of germination ends. From now on the plant needs more nutrients than given in the seed coat, the plant will carry out photosynthesis, a process in which the plant turns light energy into chemical energy which is stored in carbohydrate molecules. It takes carbon dioxide and water and turns it into sugar and oxygen. Notice anything? Plants produce the oxygen we need to live!
Not the best place to grow!
Watermelon seeds will not grow in your stomach, they will simply go through your digestive system. Unless you have soils in your stomach this story is just an old wives’ tale. The human body is an hostile environment for any seeds. The lack of nutrients, no sunlight and gastric acid will extinguish any seed that tries to grow. Plants are very sensitive living organisms, they will only grow under right condition such as the right amount of water, warmth, nutrients from the soil and light. How much a plant needs depends on its origin and species. A cactus will need less water than a rainforest tree.
Seeds in general are healthy! I recommend you to dry watermelon seeds and peel them. They contain a high amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals and the best thing is they are low carb!
Next time your in the nature go and hug a tree, say him thanks for supplying you with all the oxygen you need.
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Steem on, Tim