If you have been hogging on pumpkin flesh and discarding its seeds, then there is a lot of nutrition you have been missed on!
Yes, pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of minerals and trace metals like Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
They are cleaned, dried a bit and are consumed as nuts and usually make for heavenly garnish on desserts. In some cuisines, particularly Indian, Pumpkin seeds are a common addition to sweets and desserts.
In this write-up we will discuss some amazing health benefits that these humble seeds carry.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
A rich array of nutrients in forms of minerals makes pumpkin seeds a healthy addition to our daily diet. We present the important benefits for our readers that one can derive from these seeds.
1. Supports Prostate Health & Fertility
Zinc is found in highest concentration in the Prostate region of Men and this is why food items like pumpkin seeds that are high on this metal can contribute to a healthy prostate.
Especially amongst the aging men, inclusion of pumpkin seeds can bring down the risk of enlarged prostate. The antioxidant properties of these seeds again owing to the presence of Zinc, can also help in combating and preventing cancer of this organ.
Zinc deficiency is also associated with low libido and infertility amongst men, therefore, it is all but natural that food rich in zinc can increase their fertility.
The hormonal balance that these seeds achieve and energy synthesis in the body helps in alleviating the problems around low libido.
2. Act as natural anti-depressant
Melatonin is a hormone which is linked to the quality of sleep and sleep cycle. It is known to calm anxiety and alleviate depression.
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of Tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is converted into Melatonin in the body.
People prone to depression, mood swings and women who suffer from PMS (premenstrual syndrome) can derive a whole lot of benefit by including Pumpkin seeds in their regular diet.
Insomnia can be helped by consuming these seeds a few hours before the bedtime in combination with some carbohydrates.
3. Antimicrobial properties
Pumpkin seeds have anti-microbial, anti-viral properties that they possess because of Lignans.
Lignans are unique proteins that are known for their anti-microbial and particularly anti-viral properties. These proteins also lend pumpkin seeds an ability to ward off fungal infection.
In other words, pumpkin seeds can fight general bacterial, viral and fungal infections effectively and also help in strengthening the body against them.
People who are susceptible to these infections must include food items like pumpkin seeds that are rich in Lignans as a protections against infections.
4. Beneficial for Post Menopausal women
Women going through menopause suffer from extreme mood swings, hot flashes, anxiety, cramps, etc. All these symptoms are a direct result of hormonal imbalance caused in the body owing to this transition of a woman to the next phase of her biological clock.
In severe cases, doctors may recommend hormonal pills, but the truth is that certain types of food items can help in restoring this hormonal balance quite effectively.
Seeds like that of pumpkin contain phytoestrogen, which is estrogen derived from the plant source. Estrogen is the key hormone whose balance goes for a toss during menopause. Snack on some of these seeds every day and say bye to the symptoms of Menopause naturally.
Pumpkin seeds have proven anti-inflammatory properties that relieve the pain and also subdues swelling caused on account of injury.
This property of Pumpkin seeds also makes them extremely beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis and related pain and swelling of joints.
Some people also use their oil applying it directly on the affected area.
You may also heat the seeds and make a pad by wrapping them in a thin cloth and comforting your joints with it. These seeds also speed up the healing process internally and externally.
6. Alleviates Anemia
Pumpkin seeds contain the high amount of Copper, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron. All these minerals contribute in alleviating the symptoms of Anemia.
Anemia is a deficiency of Iron which is vital for blood formation as the hemoglobin in our blood, the main carrier of oxygen is made up of iron.
This condition is marked by the paleness of the skin, headache, dizziness, fainting spells, extreme drowsiness and persistent tiredness.
A diet including ingredients like pumpkin seeds that are rich in Iron can go a long way in ensuring that this condition is prevented.
7. Improving Immune Function
Pumpkin seeds contain Zinc and plenty of Beta-Carotene.
Zinc is considered to be an important mineral which plays a vital role i keeping our immune system in good shape.
Even doctors recommend zinc supplements in cases of repeated cold and flu attack. Apart from Zinc, Beta Carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A i.e., It converts to vitamin A in the body ensures healthy eyes, hair and heightened scavenging on the free radicals giving you a fitter body.
Both of these are especially important in younger children who fall an easy prey to cold and flu.
8. Hormonal Boost
As already mentioned that Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogen, a hormone which regulates the menstrual cycle and even fertility in the women.
A shot of Pumpkin seeds not only help with the symptoms of Menopause but also alleviate similar conditions of PMS (Pre-Menstrual syndrome).
PMS is also marked by the onset of depression, irritability, cramping in the abdomen area and mood swings.
For young girls and women who suffer from retarded release of this hormone, adding pumpkin seeds to their diet can make all the difference and that too, naturally.
9. Good for a Healthy Heart
There is more than one reason why pumpkin seeds help your heart maintain its vitality and optimize its function.
Pumpkin seeds have no cholesterol and at the same time contain unsaturated fats that discourage cholesterol formation that harm and obstruct the blood vessels.
Over and above this property, pumpkin seeds have a high level of magnesium in them, which is known to prevent and reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart stroke.
It also regulates the calcium deposition in the bones, thereby keeping it from choking the blood circulation as well.
Magnesium protects from coronary heart diseases and facilitates heart beat and muscle function keeping arrhythmia at bay.
10. Diabetes Management
One Cup or 65 g of Pumpkin seeds has a glycemic index of 22/100 which is reasonable and well balanced. But the real reason pumpkin seeds help in controlling diabetes is by improving the insulin regulation in the body.
Insulin helps in breaking down glucose to provide energy to the body. Resistance to insulin leads to high sugar level in blood due to retarded glucose absorption; this condition is called diabetes.
Diabetes can deteriorate your overall health, impair kidney function, lead to stunted healing of wounds, gangrene and is definitely an enemy of your heart.
11. Strong bones
65% of Magnesium in our body is actually found in the bones. Pumpkin seeds have magnesium, which regulates the mineralization of bones which strengthens and increases their density.
Again important trace metal Zinc regulates and controls mineral deposition in the bones which otherwise would go and get released in the blood stream finally getting excreted from the body.
Pumpkin seeds help in synthesizing nutrition, which includes bone-friendly minerals that make your bones stronger. Manganese in Pumpkin seeds maintains the health of bone tissue and also acts as an anti-oxidant.
12. Improves Nutrition Absorption
No matter how healthy your diet is and how nutritious your regimen is, it needs to get absorbed in the body.
Zinc and magnesium enhance the synthesis and absorption of nutrition in the body.
Right from Carbohydrates, glucose to Iron, they ensure that your body absorbs and breaks down most of it in a usable form.
This is also another reason why pumpkin Seeds are called fortifying food.
A word of Caution
Pumpkin seeds are great for your body, mind and immunity, however, that does not mean that incessant consumption of these nuts is always good. We would like to share certain concerns and warnings around Pumpkin seeds so that they get most out of them without harming themselves on excessive dosage.
Excessive consumption of Pumpkin seeds can lead to gas. They have an indigestible portion of Carbohydrates that is broken down in the intestines; this process releases gas and may cause flatulence. You can avoid this by consuming a lot of water along with these nuts.
Make sure your pumpkin seeds are fresh. Rancid pumpkin Seeds can expose you to unwanted toxins that lead to chronic illnesses and are extremely hazardous to your heart.
It is also known to cause ejaculation problems in males, but this is quite rare and usually happens when a persistently high dosage of pumpkin is consumed.
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