Why pumpkin seeds are good for you

Pumpkin seeds are among the healthiest foods out there, according to science. Plus, they don't make a hole in your pocket. Let's dig deeper

roasted pumpkin seeds in a bowl

Counted among nature’s gifts, pumpkin seeds — also called pepitas by many — are among the healthiest foods out there. Plus, they don’t make a hole in your pocket either. Because they are loaded with nutrients and are rather versatile, you can eat roasted pumpkin seeds by themselves or add them to salads, cakes, oatmeal and many more dishes. What’s more, nutritionists consider pumpkin seeds as a functional food, which really means that they contain ingredients that offer health benefits that extend beyond their nutritional value. But what exactly are the health benefits associated with pumpkin seeds? Why are pepitas supposed to be so good for you? Let’s find out.

7 research-backed health benefits of pumpkin seeds

1. They are a good source of vegan protein, healthy fats and iron

100 grams of pumpkin seeds will load you with approximately 30 grams of protein, making it a terrific source of protein— this is great news, especially if you are vegan! Pumpkin seeds are also rich in healthy fats and iron.

2. Pumpkin seed oil lowers blood pressure

Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are compounds that are required for de-oxidation of cholesterol and toxins—they help prevent high blood pressure among individuals suffering from hypertension. Studies on pumpkin seed oil on rats have shown that it helps lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

3. May promote better sleep

Regularly eating pumpkin seeds can help you sleep like a baby. That’s because these seeds are a rich source of naturally occurring tryptophan—an amino acid known to induce sleepiness by increasing production of serotonin.

A word of caution

Like all good things, excess becomes counterproductive. Pumpkin seeds are no different and therefore we advise you to eat them in moderation. When you consume loads of these seeds, the high fiber content in them can lead to bloating, flatulence and indigestion. It can cause diarrhea in some people, because the fiber in seeds is usually of the insoluble variety. Conversely, overeating pumpkin seeds can even cause constipation, especially if you don’t chew them well.

Also read » Stop! You are eating mindlessly

4. May improve sexual health

A cup of pepitas contain about 10 mg of zinc, which accounts for a whopping 92% of the daily value intake. Zinc is an essential mineral for male fertility — it is important for maintaining testosterone levels, building muscle and also ensuring good sperm quality. This is one of the reasons physicians and sexual health experts advise men to have plenty of these seeds. Including these seeds in your diet plan can see you perform better in bed, and even heal conditions related to male sexual health such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and others.

5. Good for diabetics

Pumpkin seeds are among the best naturally occurring sources of magnesium. Many western diets lack magnesium and that is why western populations are often found to be deficient in this important mineral. By some estimates, about 79% of American adults consumer much less magnesium than the recommended daily amount. If you don’t want to be one of them, consider including pumpkin seeds in your diet because magnesium is an vital mineral. It helps regulate blood glucose levels — something that diabetics want. Magnesium is also necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones besides managing hypertension, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

6. Rich in antioxidants — reduce risk of heart disease and cancer

Pumpkin seeds contain an abundance of antioxidants, whose anti-inflammatory properties shield your cells from damaging free radicals. When you regularly have foods like pumpkin seeds, their rich antioxidant content can help you reduce your risk of numerous ailments, including heart disease and certain cancers. That’s one more good reason to eat pumpkin seeds regularly.

If you are fed up of incontinence issues, pumpkin seed oil might just be what you need. Taking the oil may help if you have an overactive bladder, according some some studies. Likewise, for enlarged prostrate, taking an extract of pumpkin seeds seems like a good idea as it was found to ease the symptoms.

Eat pumpkins, too, for their health benefits

Pumpkins lower the risk of heart disease

A cup (245gm) of fresh mashed pumpkin contains 3gm of fiber and only about 50 calories, while pumpkin seeds contain about 1 gm of dietary fiber per ounce (15gm). Fibre is an essential dietary constituent that promotes digestion, induces satiation, and also helps keep your blood sugar in check. When you adding pumpkins to your diet plan, you will be able to go hours without craving for food; besides, it will keep your digestive health in good shape. Moreover, thanks to the rich composition of fiber in pumpkins, adding pumpkins to your diet plan can contribute to a healthier heart and the cardiovascular system as a whole. Foods rich in fiber lower the risk of heart diseases, blood pressure, and stroke.

Consuming pumpkins may help improve vision and prevent sever infection

Pumpkins are a handy source of vitamin A — With half a cup of pumpkins, you can get your daily allowance of vitamin A. According to research, pumpkins complement vitamin A supplementation. As you probably know, vitamin A is required for better vision and in preventing night blindness. Research suggests that Vitamin A also helps reduce your rate of “retinal function decline”, a condition that could lead to blindness. It is also important for healthy bones, teeth, and skin. Lastly, if you are deficient in Vitamin A, you carry a higher risk for severe infection and this is especially true for children.

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Grazilia Almeida-Khatri
Trained as a physician, Dr Grazilia Almeida-Khatri is a wellness coach and consultant. She endorses yoga as a way of life and conducts wellness and yoga retreats for individuals and corporates. She is also trained in Pilates by Michael King, who is based in the UK. Dr Grazilia is a practitioner of the Body Mirror System of healing as taught by Sir Martin Brofman. She lives in Pune, India and offers consultations in person and online.

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