Pumpkin seeds have long been associated with providing essential nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, manganese and healthy fats to our bodies. These edible seeds found inside pumpkins can be eaten raw or roasted. Also known as pepitas in Mexico, you can consume them as healthy snacks anytime, anywhere due to their small size and the ability to last long. One surprising fact about pumpkin seeds is that their nutritional value increases as they age. This means that pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months will give you more protein compared to fresh ones. Let us explore the top 10 health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
1. They Are Loaded with Vitamin K
Eating raw pumpkin seeds gives your body vitamin K which is responsible for stimulating blood clot after tissue damage, thus preventing further bleeding. Vitamin K also plays an integral part in skin healing after an injury. On top of that, vitamin K helps in bone growth and maintenance. One ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds contains two milligrams of vitamin K and you can add the raw pumpkin seeds to your diet to provide the daily required vitamin K intake.
2. Pumpkin Seeds May Improve Prostate Health
Studies show that patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP) – a condition which causes the prostate glands to enlarge leading to urination problems – found out that taking 10g of pumpkin seeds reduced the symptoms. It was also discovered that apart from improving bladder health, pumpkin seeds can help improve sperm quality in men due to the zinc content.
3. Reduces Risks Associated with Certain Cancers
In another study, it was observed that diets rich in pumpkin seeds reduced the risk of lung, stomach, colon, prostate and breast cancers. The antioxidant nutrients in pumpkin seeds were associated with slowing down the growth of cancer cells. More specifically, studies have proven that the lignin content in pumpkin seeds can reduce prostate and breast cancer.
4. They May Help Treat Diabetes
Although studies were conducted on laboratory animals, results indicated that pumpkin seeds can regulate insulin production in diabetic animals. They were shown to reduce the chances of unwanted outcomes on your organs due to excessive insulin production.
5. High in Antioxidants
Diets rich in antioxidants prevent many diseases. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E and carotenoids which help to reduce inflammation as well as protect your body cells from the harmful free radicals. Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, lowers blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels, thins your blood to prevent the formation of blood clots and generally maintains the good health of your cardiovascular system.
6. High in Valuable Nutrients
The readily available pumpkin seeds are packed with plenty of nutrients that are vital to the protection and development of your body cells. The following is a breakdown of what you get in a one-ounce (28g) of pumpkin seeds:
- Carbs – 5g
- Fiber – 1.7g
- Proteins – 7g
- Fat – 13g (six of which are omega-6s)
- Manganese – 42 percent of the recommended daily intake
- Magnesium – 37 percent of the recommended daily intake
- Iron – 23 percent of the daily recommended intake
- Phosphorous – 33 percent of the recommended daily intake
- Zinc – 14 percent of your daily recommended intake
- Copper – 19 percent of the daily intake
- Vitamin K – 18 percent of what you must take daily
- Additionally, you get 151 calories from consuming a serving of one ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds.
7. They Help Promote Good Sleep
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in plenty in pumpkin seeds, is converted into serotonin and then converted again to melatonin (sleep hormone). Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before going to sleep provides your body with sufficient tryptophan to aid in the production of serotonin and melatonin which in turn gives you a peaceful night’s sleep.
8. Improves the Immune System
Zinc is beneficial to your body in many ways including male sexual function, sleep, the growth of your cells, immunity, skin health, insulin regulation and moods. Since pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, they may help reduce lack of concentration or poor performance in school, frequent colds and flu, fatigue, acne and depression among other conditions.
9. Benefits for the Heart and Liver
Pumpkin seeds are fiber-rich which help lower the cholesterol levels in the blood thereby decreasing the risks associated with heart disease. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 which helps to keep your liver healthy.
10. Weight Loss
Due to the high fiber content in pumpkin seeds, eating them will make you feel fuller for longer. This helps to maintain a healthy weight and prevents you from craving for unhealthy snacks throughout the day. Likewise, fiber aids in digestion and you can rely on pumpkin seeds to enhance the health of your digestive system. There you have it. The top 10 health benefits of pumpkin seeds. So, go on and chew on raw pumpkin seeds or add them to your favorite diets for extra nutrients.
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