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Pumpkin is a wonderful vegetable with a lot of nutrients but a few people know about the health and nutritional benefits that pumpkin seed bestows. Pumpkin seeds are flat oval seeds which are covered with yellow covering. There are enormous benefits of the same and they are eaten in multiple ways depending on the taste and the benefit that you want to reap from them. To extract the maximum benefits of the pumpkin seeds, it is important to have them raw. While consuming pumpkin seeds, one should take care that the seeds are fresh and don’t carry any harmful pesticides etc. The article talks about the various nutritional and health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
Nutritional Facts of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a huge source of nutrients and calories. As an energy source, 28 grams of pumpkin seeds can provide around 151 calories. In addition Pumpkin seeds contains a lot Vitamins and minerals required for the daily body functions.
28 gms of Pumpkin seeds contain following nutrients:
- Fiber: 1.7 gms
- Carbs: 5 gms
- Protein: 7 gms
- Fat: 13 gms
- Vitamin K: 18% of the recommended dietary requirement
- Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
- Manganese: 42% of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Zinc: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 19% of the RDI
Apart from this Pumpkin seeds contains potassium, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B12 and many other micro nutrients required by the body.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Rich in Antioxidant:
Antioxidants are essential part of one’s diet and they helps in preventing the body from free radicals. These antioxidants help to fight against inflammation. Pumpkin seeds also contain vitamin E, phenolic compounds, Zinc. High content of these natural nutrients helps to inhibit lipoxygenase enzyme
Apart from this Roasted pumpkin seeds contain different types of vitamin E which has a lot of health benefits.
2. Cardiovascular benefits:
Pumpkin seeds contain L-arginine. This helps to prevent thickening of arteries and plaque formation. Thus, it helps to prevent the lowering blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds release nitric oxide which acts as bronchodilator and helps in lowering blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds helps in controlling bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in the body. Thus, pumpkin seeds help in balancing the cholesterol in the body.
Research have proved the utility of pumpkin seeds for keeping blood pressure in control. Various forms of pumpkin seeds like pumpkin seed powder, Pumpkin seed Juice help in reducing sugar level. It has been found the pumpkin seeds has proven results towards the type 2 diabetes. Pumpkin seeds also has a high magnesium content which has a positive effect in controlling diabetes.
Pumpkin seeds also contain compounds like trigonelline, nicotinic acid and D-Chiro-inositol. These compounds are suspected to keep blood glucose in check. Thus pumpkin seeds have proved to be an economical anti-diabetes agents.
Pumpkin seeds have been found to contain anti-cancer compounds. Some studies have proved that the presence of lignans in the pumpkin seeds provides anti-cancer property to the seeds. Pumpkin seeds have been found to be useful in many forms of cancer which has been proved through many studies. Lower risk has been observed in case of lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and Breast cancer.
Pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial in curbing Breast cancer for post-menopausal women.
5. Prostate Gland’s health and treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Zinc and oils that have a positive role in prostate health. They have been found too effective for the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, a condition which leads to the enlarged Prostate gland and difficulty in urination.
Studies have also found effective in treating over activity of the bladder in case of both men and women.
6. Source of Magnesium:
Magnesium is one of the most important mineral required by the body. Magnesium performs more than 600 vital functions in the body. Some of the important body functions which require magnesium include:
- Control of blood pressure, thus helps in proper heart functions
- Reducing the risk of heart diseases
- Formation and maintenance of healthy bones
- Regulating the blood sugar levels in the body.
1/4th cup of pumpkin seeds are sufficient to meet the magnesium daily requirements. Magnesium also helps to perform various other body functions like creation of ATPs which are the energy source of the body and synthesis of RNA and DNA which are the building blocks of life.
7. High Source of Fiber:
Adequate fiber content is required in the diet for the proper bowel movement. Pumpkin seeds have been found to be a good source of fiber. 28 gms of pumpkin seeds contain 5.2 gms of fiber.
In addition to fiber, pumpkin seeds also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 disease and obesity. The high fiber diet also helps in controlling and reducing body weight.
8. Sperm Content:
Pumpkin seeds contain high Zinc content which have been found effective in men with infertility problems. Pumpkin seeds are helpful in increase the sperm count in men. The antioxidant and presence of various other vital nutrients present in the seeds help to maintain health levels of testosterone.
9. Improves Sleep:
Pumpkin seeds are also found to help induce sleep. It is a source of tryptophan which promotes sleep. 200 gms of pumpkin seeds contains enough tryptophan to arouse sleep. However, Pumpkin seeds also contain lot of other vitamins and minerals such as Zinc and magnesium which helps to get a good sleep. Zinc also helps in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
Consuming Pumpkin seeds, along with carbohydrates, couple of hours before sleep helps to get a healthy sleep.
10. Immune system:
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Presence of so many phytochemicals and nutrients helps in building body’s immunity and helps fight the infections. Thus, intake of pumpkin seeds may help in developing immunity towards viral infections such as cold, flu, fatigue and other ailments. High content of Zinc helps to fight the pathogens, thus preventing an infection from occurring.
11. Source of proteins:
Proteins have an essential requirement for the cell regeneration as well for the numerous biochemical processes that are carried in the various body systems.
Thus, Pumpkin seeds provide a good source of proteins especially for the vegetarians. 100 gms of pumpkin seeds can provide 30 gms of proteins to the body which can make up to a lot of body requirements of the body.
12. pH Balance:
Body’s natural pH is neutral to slightly alkaline. Sustaining a natural pH helps to maintain a good health as well as perform various body reactions in the body properly. Most often, it happens that because of the intake a lot of junk and processed foods, the pH of the blood changes to slightly acidic. A shift in body’s pH can result in a lot of health related issues. Thus an intake of pumpkin seeds can helps balance the pH of the body to a normal state.
13. Hair Growth:
Pumpkin seeds are a source of nutrients like magnesium, arginine, vitamin E etc. These nutrients helps to increase the blood flow to the hair follicles, thus helping in promoting the hair growth. Apart from the above vitamins, pumpkin seed also contains vitamin C which plays an important role in hair growth. One can apply pumpkin seed oil to the hair follicles for adequate effects.
14. Skin and Eye Health:
Pumpkin seeds is a good source of squalene an antioxidant. Squalene is present throughout the body and helps to provide protection to the skin from the UV rays and other harmful radiations. UV and harmful radiations can cause harmful effects to the skin and may also result in skin cancer. Certain studies have also proved the positive effect of squalene towards the retinal health.
15. Omega-3- fatty acids:
The useful effects of Omega-3-fatty acids on the body cannot be ignored and has been proved. Both Omega-3-fatty acids obtained from animal and plant sources are necessary for the health growth. While pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA (Alpha Linolenic acid) i.e. a plant based omega fatty acid. AHA are broken down by the body into more necessary fatty acids like EPA and DHA.