Other than some grafted fruits, almost all other edible fruits we know contain seeds.
Have you ever wondered how safe it is to eat the seeds of your favorite fruit?
Do you ever wonder if these seeds add any nutritional or health benefits to your body?
Well, this article will try to answer these questions with a simplified scientific explanation and give some recommendations where necessary.
In summary, it is not advisable to eat seeds from all edible fruits since some of them contain toxins that can be very harmful to the body. Always look it up in trusted sources or consult with a nutritionist before incorporating any fruit seed in your diet.
Before we delve into the dos and don’ts, let’s first be clear on what we shall be referring to as fruit seeds here.
What are Fruit Seeds?
Definitions can sometimes make you go crazy.
You can make a simple search of something you thought you knew very well all along, only to be taken down this deep rabbit hole trying to understand it from a whole different perspective.
This is what might happen if you get caught up in the botanical nomenclature trying to define whether peanuts are nuts or seeds and whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable.
To make sure that confusion doesn’t happen here, we shall use a definition from Biology online which I think does a good job in simplifying the definition of a seed.
They define a seed as a fertilized ovule of a plant containing the plant embryo that given the appropriate growth conditions, it will germinate to become a new plant.
These seeds are usually contained in fruits.
If you consider the biological purpose of a fruit, you will see why we get into this debate of eating both the fruit and its seeds.
A fruit is generally meant to protect the seed and to attract animals (and humans) to eat it so that the seeds can be dispersed for procreation.
This is just one reason for you not to eat fruit seeds.
So, in this article, I will be talking about those seeds that are usually found in everyday edible fruits such as melons, apples, oranges, lemons, bananas, papayas, strawberries, pears, mangoes, avocados, etc.
Can you Eat the Seeds from all Fruits?
As stated above, you should not eat seeds from all fruits without confirming whether they are safe to eat or not from reliable sources.
When enjoying your fruit delicacy, you need to be confident that what you are consuming would not cause short-term or long-term harm to your body system.
Other than the seed dispersal reason given above, some fruit seeds are known to contain traces of poisonous substances.
These trace toxins can be dangerous if ingested in large quantities for a long period of time.
Some fruit seeds can also ruin the taste of your salad delicacy since they have natural compounds that make them have a bitter and unpleasant taste.
The toxins and natural compounds in these seeds are even more intensified when you grind them.
We also don’t eat seeds from all fruits since some of them have a very hard outer protective cover that is difficult to digest even after crushing them.
These hard outer covers are biologically meant to be indigestible so that animals can swallow the seeds whole and disperse them by passing them out in poop.
With that said, some fruit seeds are perfectly ok to be eaten with the fruit.
These are usually sweet and even sometimes more nutritious than the fruit itself.
Let’s see which ones you should eat and the ones to avoid.
Some Edible Fruits with Lots of Seeds That are Good for You
Most edible fruit seeds have a soft outer cover that can easily be crushed by chewing or with the help of a blender.
These seeds are also not toxic or bitter when eaten. Their nutritional content has made us embrace them as part of our diet.
Examples of some common edible fruit seeds include:
- Melon seeds: you can eat as many melon seeds as you like without worrying of your safety.
In fact, the USDA nutritional profile of melon seeds just shows how much nutritious they are to humans.
- Banana Seeds: Do not bother trying to remove seeds from a banana.
This may sound outrageous but I have witnessed someone trying to remove the banana core with seeds citing all forms of mythical justifications.
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that suggests banana seeds can be harmful to our bodies.
- Papaya seeds: Contrary to what many people believe, papaya seeds are safe to consume in small quantities. Their taste could be a little bit unpleasant but they do not contain any toxins.
In fact, there are very many health benefits associated with papaya seeds such as anticancer properties and kidney protection.
Most recipes recommend you dry them, grind, and use them as a spice or seasoning.
To enjoy their benefits and avoid the side effects, moderation is required.
- Berries seeds: It is perfectly okay to pop that blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry in your mouth with the seeds.
Their seeds are usually tiny and can be digested or excreted out of the digestion system without any problems.
They are also very nutritious and non-toxic to humans. So don’t stress over removing the seeds from berries.
- Kiwi Fruit Seeds: The seeds can be eaten without any problem.
The seeds have been touted as essential in contributing to the anti-inflammatory properties associated with the fruit.
- Pomegranate: These seeds are meant to be enjoyed together with their juicy capsules.
There is no danger associated with them in the food science and nutrition world.
- Pumpkin seeds, Butternut seeds, squash seeds: These are, in fact members of the super seeds family.
They should always be eaten without hesitation since they have numerous health benefits that have been scientifically proven.
If you want to know how to incorporate them into your diet, check out my previous article here on seed cycling.
- Passion fruit seeds: these seeds are the main reason why passions are edible.
Other than being sweet and crunchy, the seeds are packed with essential micronutrients that benefit our bodies.
So, don’t skip them when eating the fruit.
- Tomato seeds: Let’s consider it a fruit here since it contains seeds.
Tomato seeds are edible and do not have any known side effects on healthy consumers.
I stress healthy consumers because we know people who are allergic to the nightshade family plants and those will be affected by eating any part of a tomato.
Recent studies have also dismissed the association of tomato seeds and kidney stones
- Vegetable fruits: Other than tomatoes, some vegetable fruits seeds such as eggplant, chilies, zucchini, capsicum, and cucumber are safe to eat.
You don’t need to remove them when using these vegetables as ingredients when preparing your food.
The above list is just an example of common fruits that have edible seeds.
There are many other fruits in that category and you can also find some information on them in the resources I mentioned above.
Fruit Seeds You Should Avoid Eating
These are fruits that either contain very hard seeds to digest or the seeds are scientifically known to contain toxic compounds.
Eating these fruits can either break your teeth or worse still, break your family tree.
But this should not alarm you because scientifically speaking, the quantity of toxins in these seeds is usually very small to cause any immediate damage considering the amount we averagely consume.
The only problem is when you consume them in large quantities or if an immunocompromised individual consumes them.
Let’s see a list of common fruit seeds you should avoid:
- Apple seeds: Apple seeds contain a toxic compound known as amygdalin that undergoes some chemical reactions in the stomach to produce small doses of cyanide.
We all know how potent cyanide can be as a poison.
The good news is that you will not die because of eating one, or two, or ten apple seeds in a day.
According to this study, you will need to eat more than 80 apple seeds for them to cause acute cyanide poisoning.
Otherwise, you will just have mild cyanide poisoning symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and anxiety. But who wants to go through all that trouble on something with no health benefits?
- Citrus Fruits Seeds: These include seeds of lemons, oranges, tangerines, and limes.
The seeds also contain toxins in small quantities.
Other than the toxins, they also have an awful taste that no normal person would love.
Avoid eating them.
- Fruit seeds in pits: These are seeds that have been enclosed in fruit pits such as avocado seeds, mango seeds, lychee, dates, cherry fruits, plums, olives, and apricots.
These are the ones that can break your teeth.
If you work hard and break them instead, be ready to face their toxicity when you decide to consume them.
- Pears, Nectarines, and peaches: Although not very potent, the seeds from these fruits are also known to have cyanide producing compounds.
Consuming their seeds in large quantities can cause cyanide poisoning.
This second list can be scary because most of us have at one point unintentionally swallowed these seeds.
If that has happened to you, there is no need to worry as we are going to see in the final section below.
What Happens When You Accidentally Swallow Fruit Seeds?
First, do not panic. One or a few seeds will not be enough to poison you.
Also, the seed won’t germinate in your stomach as mom or grandma said.
If the seed has already gone down the food pipe, take enough water to push it down the stomach.
Eat plenty of ripe bananas or foods that help relieve constipation and make it easy for you to poop.
The digestive system will eventually flush the seeds out of the body since most of them will not be digested due to their hard outer cover.
As a matter of fact, this is the clever way plants use animals to disperse their seeds.
Try to avoid crushing the seeds in list two into your smoothie or other foods since the hard broken pieces can accumulate in your appendix and block it, resulting in appendicitis.
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