Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Heart Healthy Magnesium
25 grams of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of people living in Europe and USA are deficient in this important mineral.
2. Zinc for Immune Support
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, medication effects, and diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.
3. Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)). We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA -- by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels, thyroid problems and other medical conditions. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA, I find that for some people, an intake of essential fatty acids from krill oil supplementation provides a ready converted and bio-available omega-3 fatty acid source.
4. Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for male health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil used in combination with saw palmetto, may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
5. Anti-Diabetic Effects
Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.
6. Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phyto-estrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good "HDL" cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flushes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.
7. Heart and Liver Health
Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibre, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.
8. Tryptophan for Restful Sleep
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the "sleep hormone." Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night's sleep.
9. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.
The Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds
In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh - not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate rancidity or the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Organic pumpkin seeds are to be preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
However, most nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bio-available when you consume them. So if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis it would be wise to soak or sprout them. To make them more palatable you can then dehydrate them in your oven, or better yet and more cost effectively, in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market but Excalibur is generally considered the best. I have used one for over 20 years. Just Google it for best price.
If you prefer to eat the seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time. Raw pumpkin seeds can be roasted on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius), sprinkled with Himalayan or Celtic salt, for about 15-20 minutes.
whether you are taking the correct supplements?
you were less stressed?
with motivation to keep with your diet?