Pumpkin seeds are delicious and often overlooked parts of a pumpkin, which have many health benefits and nutrients packed into their small shape. Pumpkin seeds help lift your mood, improve sleep, protect your bones, eliminate kidney stones, and boost immunity. Other benefits of pumpkin seeds include a boost in metabolism, faster healing of the body, protection against cancer and parasites, and an improved heart health. And for those who want to gain weight, pumpkin seeds can do that as well.
Table of Contents
- What are Pumpkin Seeds?
- Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
What are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are the flat, oval-shaped seeds of the pumpkin or squash. They are light green on the inside, but their hull is white. Most pumpkin seeds come with their shell or endosperm still attached, particularly when they are eaten after being roasted, which is the most common way of consuming them. They can, however, be shelled, and the inner germ can be eaten for a healthy snack with less work and chewing involved.
Pumpkins are traditionally associated with Central American, Mexican, and Native American cuisine, but the genus Cucurbita has other species of squash that have long been grown and cultivated in Europe and Russia, so pumpkin seeds can also be found in those areas of the world as a popular snack food. They are traditionally a seasonal snack, during the autumn when most of the squash and pumpkin varieties are fully grown. However, the popularity of pumpkin seeds has spurred companies to serve them dried like sunflower seeds throughout the year.
We know that pumpkin seeds have been a part of cultural cuisines since the time of the Aztecs. However, it is very likely that they have been important far longer than that, considering that squash is frequently grouped as one of the first three agricultural products in ancient North American history. There must be something good about these seeds to have been around for thousands of years; let’s find out a bit more.
Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition Facts
The staggering health benefits of pumpkin seeds come from its unusual nutritional composition, including impressive levels of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and protein, as well as smaller amounts of B complex vitamins, and vitamin A. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds have phytosterols, an organic compound that also contributes to their healthy qualities.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds below.
Cancer is one of the most serious conditions that affect the human race, and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce our chances of developing this dreaded disease. Pumpkin seed extracts contain a number of anti-cancer properties and components, including phenolic compounds. These compounds have directly been attributed to scavenging free radicals in test subjects that were given pumpkin seed extract. Antioxidants are powerful substances that help the body get rid of free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can lead to a host of diseases, including cancer!
Improve Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds are good for relieving the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, primarily due to their activity as diuretics. This keeps the prostate healthy, which is one of the most common places for men to develop cancer.
Prevent Parasitic Activity
Pumpkin seeds have long been associated with anti-parasitic activity and have been used traditionally as a way to eliminate tapeworms and other dangerous parasites in the body. For children, who are the most susceptible to worms, pumpkin seeds provide a delicious snack and a very important defensive line against those worms, which can result in malnutrition, incorrect growth patterns, and even death. The exact mechanism by which pumpkin seeds do this is somewhat unclear.
Certain studies have shown that pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory properties in the body, which is one of the common uses of this delicious snack. Inflammation can often be the result of various deficiencies, including that of protein, various vitamins, and minerals. Inflammatory conditions like arthritis can be debilitating, so adding good amounts of proteins and anti-inflammatory compounds into your body will prevent that from happening. This will also help keep the tissues healthy. Pumpkin seeds have been directly associated with a decrease in inflammation and the associated pain of arthritis.
Prevent Kidney Stones
Pumpkin seeds have been connected with a reduction in toxins in the body, due to its diuretic properties, as well as the antioxidant activity. Furthermore, they stimulate circulation and increase the speed and processing of liver and kidney functions. Uric acid and various other toxins are therefore removed from the body, which means they cannot accumulate into dangerous kidney stones or other forms, like gout and arthritis, as mentioned earlier. Pumpkin seeds promote good health of kidneys and help to detoxify body from top to bottom.
Boost Body Metabolism
Our body functions at its highest levels when all of our systems are working efficiently and healthily. Having a stable and adequate amount of protein in your diet is essential because proteins are made up of amino acids, which are used in thousands of necessary enzymatic and metabolic processes every day. Without those essential amino acids and proteins, our bodies would cease to function, and we would become weak, lethargic, unhealthy, slow-witted, and exhausted.
Good Source of Protein
Pumpkin seeds are a huge source of proteins. 30% of pumpkin seed volume is made of proteins. There are 12 grams of proteins in a single cup of pumpkin seeds, which is approximately 25% of our daily requirement of protein.
If you’re feeling tired or stressed after a long day, you can turn to pumpkin seeds to calm yourself down and get a good night’s sleep. Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of both magnesium and tryptophan that are closely associated with sedation and soothing qualities that stimulate sleep. These seeds can help your head hit the pillow in a peaceful, lasting way due to those two vital components.
Pumpkin seeds are extremely popular due to their effects on osteoporosis. They have high levels of zinc, calcium, copper, and other minerals that are linked to increased bone density. Studies have shown that consistent intake of pumpkin seeds can reduce bone weakness and the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
One of the unique organic compounds in pumpkin seeds is phytosterols, which is directly connected to lower LDL cholesterol levels. These phytosterols prevent blood clots and atherosclerosis, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Furthermore, the high copper levels in pumpkin seeds increase red blood cell count in the body and improve oxygenated passage of blood through the vessels. This fact, combined with low sodium content, can improve heart health by reducing blood pressure, so pumpkin seeds should be considered a valuable cardiovascular booster.
Words of Caution: Pumpkin seeds are very high in calories, so they can exacerbate obesity. Also, there has been limited evidence that they can cause ejaculation problems in some men.