Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds also known as pepitas are edible seeds of the pumpkin. These seeds are flat and symmetrically oval. They are encased in a white-colored outer husk and their inner seed is green in color. They are subtly sweet and have a nutty flavor. They are native to America Pumpkin seeds are loaded with numerous micro nutrients, they are rich in a healthy fat like oleic acid and linoleic acid.
Nutrient Content of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of vitamins like – thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), Niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and K, they also provide proteins and dietary fibers. Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc are also present in abundance in pumpkin seeds. About 100 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds provides 574 kcal.
Pumpkin seeds are widely used in Mexican cuisine, they are usually roasted and used as a snack. They are packed with energy and nutrition. They are the only seeds which are alkaline nature.
Following are the few Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
• Anthelmintic Effect
Pumpkin seeds are widely used as a natural remedy for parasites in many cultures. Few Native American tribes use pumpkin seeds to get rid of tapeworms in the stomach.
• Rich in Magnesium
Magnesium – have a role in 300 – 500 functions in the human body, it is needed in trace amount but participate in many functions.
• Rich in Antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds are rich in diverse antioxidants, like- contain vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha to comonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol, hydroxybenzoic, etc. hence pumpkin seeds helps in protecting our body from free radicals which are naturally generated in the body by stress, sun exposure and as part of the normal aging process.
Pumpkin seeds also help to heal of cancer like prostate cancer and bladder and colon and breast cancer.
• Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial
Pumpkin seeds are one of the most recommended natural anti-inflammatory foods. Pumpkin seed oil is also recommended for its natural antimicrobial properties. The unique proteins in pumpkin play a major contribution in antimicrobial action of pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of protein which is almost 25 – 50 % of the total weight of the seeds.
• Maintains Blood pressure
Pumpkin seeds help in lowering blood pressure, they play a vital role in relaxing the blood vessels. High magnesium in pumpkin seeds is effective in reducing the risk of a heart attack. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids present in pumpkin seeds help in lowering cholesterol in the blood. They also decrease the risk of thrombosis and arrhythmia’s. Likewise, pumpkin seeds are also beneficial in reducing atherosclerosis.
• Heart health
Studies have depicted that pumpkin seeds may help in reducing cholesterol. A substantial amount of research has been conducted which endorse the hypolipidaemic effect of pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds help in a significant decrease in lipid parameters.
• Healthy Bones
Pumpkin seeds a good source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which plays a vital role in decreasing osteoporosis. Pumpkin seeds contain a considerable amount of zinc, which is important for bone health.
• Maintains blood Sugar Level
While Diabetes patients are advised not to consume pumpkin because of high carbohydrate content, the seeds are not barred from consumption.
• Male Infertility
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is an essential mineral it helps in enhancing the Sperm quality of man. It helps in increasing the sperm counts and enhances the motility of sperm. Zinc is also vital for prostate gland function. It also helps in the growth of reproductive organs during development. Likewise, zinc is a vital fertility nutrient, it helps in improving the sexual health status of both male and female.
• Enhances sleep quality
Sleep is an important ingredient in health. Zinc is required for the production of tryptophan, it is an important amino acid which promotes sleep. It is converted into serotonin which converts into melatonin. Melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of sleep and human circadian rhythms. It is a sleep facilitator in human thus helps in the treatment of insomnia.
Pumpkin seeds are also beneficial in decreasing the symptoms associated with Leg cramps, calf pains, and migraines. It is always better to eat soaked pumpkin seeds, about 1 to 2 tablespoon is sufficient for a day.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.