Why You Should Eat More Egusi (African melon seed) To Boost Your Immune System | Health Benefits of Egusi

How Egusi Boost The Immune System

Egusi is the seed of the African melon, pumpkin or, bitter gourd. Eating melon and pumpkin seeds can provide a great source of zinc in the body.  Zinc is considered the most important mineral for the immune system. Low levels of zinc predisposes one to infection. In the body, Zinc can increase T cells which protect from virus invasion. Zinc supplementation has been been found to decrease virus infection that cause upper respiratory infections in young and old subjects in numerous research studies. Zinc has also been shown to decrease oxidative stress and tumor necrosis factor in the body. In 1 ounce serving of egusi there is 14% the daily recommended amount. So imagine you eat a bowl of egusi soup you could easily get half the recommend daily amount of zinc. But if you can't get hold of food with zinc, taking an immune support supplement with a combination of zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin C is a good idea to prevent and treat viral infections.

Nutrient Profile of Egusi

Egusi seeds are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals and are a source of edible oil. They chemically contain 52% oil, about 30% protein 2.7% fiber, 3.6% ash, and 8.2% carbohydrate. For every 28 g (1-oz) serving of egusi, the nutritional value is; 1.7 g fiber, 5 g carbs,7g protein, 13g fats (6 of which are omega-6s), 18% Vitamin K, 33% Phosphorus, 52% Manganese, 37% Magnesium, 23% Iron, 14% Zinc and 19% copper.

egusi seeds

Other Health Benefits of Egusi (African Melon Seed)

1.​  Arthritis Management:​ Arthritis worsens over time due to increasing inflammation in joints. Egusi seeds are rich in antioxidants which reduces inflammation by eliminating free radicals from the body. 

2.  ​Cholesterol Improvement:​ The oil found in egusi seeds are predominately mono unsaturated, omega 3, and omega 6 essential fatty acids which have several cardio-protective benefits. These benefits include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, stroke and heart attack, and other conditions associated with high cholesterol levels, as these fats help to decrease bad LDL cholesterol in the body and increased good HDL cholesterol. Egusi melon oil is even recommended as an alternative to regular cooking oils due to its high content of healthy essential fatty acids and its positive health benefits on serum. 

3. Energy Boosting: Egusi is high in ​Vitamin B Supplement: ​Vitamins b1 (thiamine) and b2 (riboflavin). These vitamin are essential for and needed for metabolism as it converts nutrients to energy. Egusi is also high in magnesium which is required to sustain nerve and muscle function, and ensures a steady heartbeat.

4. ​Diabetes Management: Due to egusi's high fat and protein content it is a low glycemic food and does not increase blood sugar levels much  when eaten. ​It has also been found to increases insulin sensitivity of the body.

Culinary Uses of Egusi

Depending on the end-use, egusi undergoes various processes. For oil, after harvesting the African melon seed, it is shelled either manually or mechanically, then the oil is extracted from it. Or the seed can be roasted and grounded into a spread like peanut butter, or soaked, fermented into a seasoning called ogiri

The most predominate use of egusi is for making african soup dishes paired with fufu or rice. But the seed can also be used in the production of margarine, butter, and animal feed due to its high oil content. It’s also interesting to note that ground egusi seeds can act as a substitution for breast milk when mixed with honey and it prevents malnutrition. If you live in the diaspora egusi can be bought whole or ground at you closest african grocery store. But if you don't have any african grocery stores near you egusi can be bought online on Amazon.


Ghaffari, H., Tavakoli, A., Moradi, A. et al. Inhibition of H1N1 influenza virus infection by zinc oxide nanoparticles: another emerging application of nanomedicine. J Biomed Sci 26, 70 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12929-019-0563-4

Sera T, Inhibition of Virus DNA Replication by Artificial Zinc Finger Proteins. J or Virology 79, (2005) 2614-2619

Okpunyi I, Nguemo D, Girgih A. A review on potential of some nigerian local food as a source of functional food and thier health promoting benefits. Asian Food Journal. 2(4): 1-15, 2018

Achu M, Fokou E, Tchiegang C, et al. Nutritive value of some cucurbitacae oil seeds from different regions in Cameroon. African Journal of Biotechnology 4(11): 1329-1334, 2005 http://www.academicjournals.org/AJB 

Elhardallou S, Elawad A, Khairi N, et al. A review on omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids: uses benefits and their availability in pumpkins (cucurbita maxima) seed and desert dates (balanites aegyptiaca) seed kernal oils. Pakistan journal of biological sciences 17 (12): 1195-1208, 2014

Post a Comment