Pumpkin seeds: Benefits and easy ways to include them in your diet
The small oval-shaped pumpkin seeds also referred to as pepitas are a powerhouse of nutrients. Rich in magnesium, iron and fibre, the seeds make for a healthy and crunchy snack. The American Heart Association recommends having a quarter cup (30 grams) of pumpkin seeds every day as a part of a healthy diet.
Here in this article, we will discuss the benefits of pumpkin seeds and easy ways to consume them.
Benefits of pumpkin seeds
Good for your heart
Pumpkin seeds have healthy fats, fibres and antioxidants that are good for your cardiovascular health. The tiny seeds also have monounsaturated fatty acids that help in lowering the bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. The magnesium in the seeds helps by regulating the blood pressure levels.
Helps you sleep better
Pumpkin seeds have Serotonin, a neurochemical that is considered a natural sleeping pill. These are also rich in Tryptophan, an amino acid that gets converted to serotonin in the body, improving the quality of your sleep. A handful of seeds before you go to bed can be an easy and natural way to get a good night’s sleep.
Pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing arthritis pain. The seeds work as an easy home remedy in treating joint pain.
The seeds are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help in boosting your immunity and reducing your chances of getting sick.
Good for prostate health
As per studies, zinc is helpful in promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostate-related problems. Pumpkin seeds have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that lowers one’s risk of prostate cancer.
Good for diabetics
Pumpkin seeds help in controlling the blood sugar levels by decreasing the oxidative stress. The seeds are also rich in digestible protein, which stabilises the blood sugar levels.
Promotes weight loss
More than half the world wants to lose weight and get fit. The tiny pumpkin seeds are densely rich in nutrients, which helps keep you fuller for longer. The seeds are high in fibre that keeps you satiated and stops you from binge eating.
Improves hair growth
Pumpkin seeds have cucurbitacin, which is a unique amino acid that helps in hair growth. These are also rich in vitamin C, which also plays an important role in hair growth. You can apply pumpkin seed oil on the scalp or consume a handful of pumpkin seeds daily to see results.
Rich in antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds have antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids. These help in reducing inflammation and protect the cells from harmful free radicals. This in turn protects your body against various diseases.
In a study conducted on rats, it was found that inflammation in rats with arthritis was reduced by giving them pumpkin seed oils. On the other hand, rats given anti-inflammatory drugs experienced negative side effects, while the rats given the pumpkin seed oil experienced no side effect.
Lowers your risk of certain cancers
It has been found that diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been linked with a lower risk of stomach, lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Another study found that the consumption of pumpkin seeds reduces the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
May improve sperm quality
Low zinc levels are linked with reduced sperm quality and increased risk of infertility in men. As pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, their consumption can help improve the quality of sperm.
A study conducted on mice found that pumpkin seeds protect human sperm from damage caused by autoimmune disease and chemotherapy.
The various antioxidants in the seeds improve the health of testosterone. All these factors together can help improve reproductive function in males.
Ways to consume pumpkin seeds
– You can have dry roasted pumpkin seeds as a snack
– Grind some pumpkin seeds and add them to your salads and curries.
– Garnish your cupcakes with raw/roasted/grated pumpkin seeds.
– Add pumpkin seeds to the trail mix
– Blend pumpkin seeds in your smoothies
– Mix them in your homemade sauces