The good old Pumpkin Seed is a nutritional powerhouse with a wide range of nutrients from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc wrapped up into one. They also contain beneficial plant compounds phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which give us an added boost.
Their health benefits are galore, so whether you in the mood for a chewy snack or a light dessert, pumpkin seeds double up as a phenomenal health food. Since they are high-fiber seeds, they boost the fiber intake, helping reach the ideal amount of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. The best part is that they require no refrigeration, so that makes them highly portable and can be the ideal snack on the go, anytime and anywhere! Here are eight benefits of including them in your diet today!
1. Magnesium for a healthy heart
Did you know that one-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contain half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium? Magnesium is important for the body since it helps in the creation of ATP, synthesis of RNA and DNA, pumping of the heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of blood vessels and proper bowel function. It is known to benefit blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack.
2. Boosting Immunity with Zinc
They are a rich source of zinc which is vital to our body in building immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health and insulin regulation. Deficiency in zinc results in increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children among others.
3. Best Source of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Pumpkin seeds, amongst other raw nuts and seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid), which is converted into other essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
4. Prostate Health
They have always been an important and natural food good for men's health, because of their high zinc content, which is essential for prostate health. It is said that pumpkin seed extracts and oils play a major role in treating enlarged prostate.
Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation and thereby help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing the oxidative stress in the body.
6. Peaceful Sleep
The tiny seeds are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, which is nothing but the ‘sleep hormone’. By just eating some pumpkin seeds couple of hours before bed, combined with some fruit, is enough for your body to convert the tryptophan to help you get a good night’s sleep.
7. Anti-Inflammatory Values
The oil of the pumpkin seed has anti-inflammatory effects and it was found that it worked well in treating arthritis, without the side effects.
8. Removes Intestinal Parasites
Conventionally the pumpkin seeds have been used in the treatment of intestinal worms. Pumpkin seed has compounds like cucurbitine, fatty acids, berberine and palmatine which affect worm egg hatching, larval development and adult worm motility. They facilitate their evacuation from the body. Salt them, roast them but make sure you add them to your daily meal!