10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
I’ve always loved salted, roasted pumpkin seeds (also called ‘papitas’) –they make a good snack and are loaded with plenty of nutrients. I like to munch on them at my desk but they also make a healthy addition to breakfast cereals, granola bars, smoothies and you can even sneak them into your baked goods!
In this article I will show you how much healthy it is to eat pumpkin seeds (based on science!). Read on to know more...
1. Help You Relax
I have previously talked about the stress-relieving property of nuts & seeds in my article about foods that help you relax and pumpkin seeds are no exception. Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid that is effective against depression and helps in the relaxation of mind. This amino acid is responsible for the production of serotonin , a hormone that brings sleep and relaxation. Pumpkin seeds also also contain glutamate that is required in the synthesis of GABA, an anti-stress neuro-chemical. So, keep a pack of roasted, toasted pumpkin seeds at hand if you frequently feel stressed, or have any symptoms of depression.
2. Help Strengthen Immune System
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin E, which is known to be a powerful lipid-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E prevents tissue cells from the free-radical-mediated oxidant injury. Selenium, another mineral found in pumpkin seeds, is also an anti-oxidant and helps strengthen our immune system. Thus, consumption of a handful of pumpkin seeds daily would help strengthening your immune system and help your body develop resistance against many infectious diseases.
Enjoy Roasted, Salted Pumpkin Seeds!
3. Good for Hair & Nails
Vitamin B-complex in pumpkin seeds is key to healthy growth of our hair and nails. Biotin, a part of B-complex vitamin, helps grow healthy hair, while thiamine is essential nutrient that works in conjunction with other parts of B-complex. Thiamine also triggers vitamin C metabolism. So, if you want to have a shiny mane and steel-hard nails, make sure you include pumpkin seeds in your diet any way.
4. Help Prevent Kidney & Gallbladder Stones
Research has shown that pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate stone formation in kidneys. In a study conducted on animals, pumpkin seeds extract showed improved bladder functioning. These may also help dissolve kidney and gallbladder stones if taken regularly. [Better consult your physician/doctor for any kidney/bladder issues].
5. Help Cure Prostate Problems
Prostate gland enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or BPH) is a condition that affects masses worldwide. An important reason for this syndrome is the over-stimulation of prostate cells by testosterones and DHT (dihydrotestosterone) . Pumpkin seeds oil helps resist prostate cell multiplication that leads to prostate gland enlargement. Also, the carotenoids found in pumpkin seeds are said to help prevent prostate gland enlargement in men on the basis of the fact that carotenoids in general reduce the risk of having BPH. So, for the men out there: start snacking on pumpkin seeds!
6. Reduce Cholesterol Levels In Blood
Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, compounds that have a similar structure to cholesterol but they help reducing bad cholesterol (LDL - Low-density Lipoproteins) in blood. A 100g of pumpkin seeds contain 265mg of phytosterol . Pumpkin seeds are also rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that also lower LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’. This in turn increases the ‘good cholesterol’ or HDL in the blood. That being said, if you needs to include healthy fats in your diet, pumpkin seeds are a good option.
7. Help Prevent Cancers
The phytosterols in pumpkin seeds also fight and protect against many types of cancers including lung, breast, ovarian, and stomach cancer. These compounds function by preventing cancer cells from production, multiplication and growth in a certain part of the body. That’s something worth paying attention to - prevention is something we all should go for. Start snacking on pumpkin seeds for a healthy life.
8. Help Relieve Arthritis Inflammation
Pumpkin seeds have great anti-inflammatory properties. The effect of pumpkin seeds on arthritis inflammation is comparable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin which increases the level of damaged fats in the joints as a side effect. But unlike the drug, pumpkin seeds have no such side effects. Studies have shown how much helpful pumpkin seeds are in relieving arthritis inflammation symptoms. So, if any one you know is suffering from arthritis, you can recommend them pumpkin seeds.
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9. Improve Digestion
Pumpkin seeds have anti-fungal, anti-parasitic properties which enable them to keep a check on our digestive system to fight any foreign bodies. Traditionally, the pumpkin seeds have been used to cure inflammation or infection of intestines and digestive tract caused by parasites and other germs. Studies have shown that adding pumpkin seeds to the bread helps it digest better and its nutrients absorb fully into the blood stream. So snacking on pumpkin seeds can keep your digestive system healthy.
10. Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Due to their high zinc content, pumpkin seeds can prevent osteoporosis in premenstrual women and older men because osteoporosis is linked with low zinc intake. Around 1oz. of pumpkin seeds contains 2mg of zinc. Daily recommended amount of zinc for men over 19 years is 11mg while for the women of same age it is recommended that you take 9mg of zinc daily. This translates to 5.5oz of pumpkin seeds for an average man, and 4.5oz for an average woman to be taken daily to prevent any diseases related to low zinc intake.
So, don’t underestimate these small seeds, for pumpkin seeds are full of healthy benefits and make a healthy snack to go for.
Disclaimer: This article is solely for information purpose and all information is based on medical articles/research papers available on the internet. The information is not substitute for medical prescription. Please check with your doctor/physician before trying anything.
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