Pumpkin seeds, or Pepita, are flat seeds, greenish in color and enclosed in a white husk. Pumpkin seeds are usually eaten in roasted form, most often as treats especially during the Halloween season. With a nutty and sweet flavor, pumpkin seeds are tasty and nutritious. Native American Indians used pumpkin seeds for their medicinal and dietary health benefits. Today, pumpkin seeds are regarded as an excellent source of essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. According to studies, a mere quarter cup of pumpkin seeds will provide 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron. Pumpkin seeds also contain a number of essential fatty acids like myristic acid, palmitic acid, pametoleic acid, stealic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, arachidic acid, gad oleic acid, and bahenic acid.
Good for bones, prostate, cholesterol and more
Bone Strength: Pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc, excellent for bone health. A study of men aged 45 and above, has shown that those who have a regular intake of zinc-rich foods have a reduced chance of developing osteoporosis.
Anti-inflammatory Effect: Recent studies show that the pumpkin seeds’ healing properties can help people with arthritis. Pumpkin seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties, without the side effects which may result from a drug like indomethacin.
Prostate Health: Pumpkin seed oils are good for prostate health because they contain components that appear to interrupt or stop the multiplication of prostate cells caused by DHT and testosterone. Similarly, preliminary evidence suggests that that carotinoids and the omega-3 fats are beneficial to prostate health; although more research is needed. Studies have found that the zinc content found in pumpkin seeds may have a positive impact on the prostate health.
Cholesterol Level: Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, which can help naturally reduce blood cholesterol levels. They are compounds which are commonly found in plants. Phytosterol has a chemical structure which is very similar to cholesterol. Aside from reducing the cholesterol in the blood, it can decrease the risk of some cancers and boost the body’s immune system.
Minerals: Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of minerals, which promote good over-all health and wellbeing. Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, protein and zinc.
Prevents osteoporosis, parasites, impotence and more
Osteoporosis: In clinical studies, persons aged 45 and above with low zinc intake are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds will provide enough zinc to help prevent osteoporosis.
Parasites: In traditional Chinese medicine, pumpkin seeds are used to eliminate the certain parasites which, though rare, could be found in the body. Herbalists often recommend large amounts of pumpkin seeds, up to 25 ounces for adults. These seeds are mashed, mixed with juice and, two hours later, a laxative is recommended to cleanse the intestines. To date, there have been no scientific studies on the anti-parasitic properties of pumpkin seeds.
Prostate Health: Pumpkin seeds are capable of regulating the dieresis and maintaining the optimal balance of fluid. The phytosterols in pumpkin seeds can help shrink an enlarged prostate back to normal size. Pumpkin seeds can also stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which causes prostate cancer.
Arthritis: The natural anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds may help relieve arthritic pain. Magnesium found in pumpkin seeds is known to relax the nerves and improve blood flow. Unlike today’s prescriptions for arthritis, pumpkin seeds do not contain harmful chemicals can damage the joint linings and lead to liver damage or heart disease.
Impotence: Pumpkin seeds are rich in the essential fatty acid, omega 3, which acts as a precursor of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that play a key role in sexual health. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and B, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining good sexual health.
Acne: Acne can be eliminated with large amounts of Vitamin A. Unfortunately, large amounts of vitamin A are poisonous to the liver. The zinc in pumpkin seeds helps release the Vitamin A that is already stored in the liver for the body’s use.
Kidney Stones: According to studies, pumpkin seeds contain substances that help prevent and dissolve kidney stones.
Possible side effects
Stomach ache: The consumption of large amounts of pumpkin seeds can cause stomach upsets and diarrhea. In excess, the fatty oils found in the pumpkin seeds are difficult to digest.
Drug Interactions: People who are already taking “water pills” or any diuretics must be careful with eating pumpkin seeds as the seeds also have diuretic effects.
Allergic reactions: For those who are allergic, pumpkin seeds may cause reactions such as nausea, headaches or difficulty breathing. Some people may also develop rashes, as well as itchy and swollen skin. If you feel any of these symptoms after eating pumpkin seeds, stop eating them and call your family doctor as soon as possible.
Anti-nutrient effect: An anti-nutrient is a compound that can hinder or interfere with the body’s absorption of other nutrients, which can lead to various health problems. The high zinc content of pumpkin seeds may lead to poor absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
Pumpkin seeds are great snacks and excellent sources of nutrients. Rich sources of essential fatty acids, they can help lower cholesterol, improve bone and prostate health. They are also good for keeping the skin healthy and clearing up acne. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and other minerals. However, like any health food, its important not to over-indulge because excess consumption can cause stomachaches and other side effects.