Herbal Section | 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

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Pumpkin seeds have been associated with several health benefits Eating only a small amount of pumpkin seeds can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.

These include improved heart health, prostate health and protection against certain cancers and can be incorporated into your diet. Below are the top 11 health benefits of pumpkin seeds that are supported by science:

Full of Valuable Nutrients

One ounce (28 grams) of shell-free pumpkin seeds has roughly 151 calories, mainly from fat and protein. In addition, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains (1): Fiber: 1.7 grams; Carbs: 5 grams; Protein: 7 grams; Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s); Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI; Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI; Manganese: 42% of the RDI; Magnesium: 37% of the RDI; Iron: 23% of the RDI; Zinc: 14% of the RDI; Copper: 19% of the RDI. The seeds also contain a lot of antioxidants and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.

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High in Antioxidants

Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E. Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals. That’s why consuming foods rich in antioxidants can help protect against many diseases. It’s thought that the high levels of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are partly responsible for their positive effects on health.

Linked to a Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers

Pumpkin seeds have been associated with a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers. A large observational study found that eating them was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Other studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in preventing and treating breast cancer. Further test-tube studies found that a supplement containing pumpkin seeds had the potential to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Improve Prostate and Bladder Health

Pumpkin seeds may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination. Several studies in humans found that eating these seeds reduced symptoms associated with BPH. In a one-year study in over 1,400 men with BPH, pumpkin seed consumption reduced symptoms and improved quality of life. Further research suggests that taking pumpkin seeds or their products as supplements can help treat symptoms of an overactive bladder. One study in 45 men and women with overactive bladders found that 10 grams of pumpkin seed extract daily improved urinary function.

Very High in Magnesium

Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium — a mineral that is often lacking in the diets of many Western populations. Magnesium is needed for more than 600 chemical reactions in your body. For example, adequate levels of magnesium are important for: Controlling blood pressure; Reducing heart disease risk; Forming and maintaining healthy bones; Regulating blood sugar levels.

May Improve Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids — all of which may help keep your heart healthy. A 12-week study in 35 postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seed oil supplements reduced diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) by 7% and increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 16%. Other studies suggest that pumpkins’ ability to increase nitric oxide generation in your body may be responsible for its positive effects on heart health. Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries.

Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Animal studies have shown that pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed powder and pumpkin juice can reduce blood sugar. This is especially important for people with diabetes, who may struggle to control their blood sugar levels. Several studies have found that supplementing with pumpkin juice or seed powder reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds may be responsible for its positive effect on diabetes. More research is needed to confirm these beneficial effects of pumpkin seeds on blood sugar levels.

High in Fiber

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fiber — shelled seeds provide 1.1 grams of fiber in a single 1-oz (28-gram) serving (30). A diet high in fiber can promote good digestive health. In addition, high-fiber diets have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

May Improve Sperm Quality

Low zinc levels are associated with reduced sperm quality and an increased risk of infertility in men. Since pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, they may improve sperm quality. Evidence from one study in mice suggests they may also protect human sperm from damage caused by chemotherapy and autoimmune diseases. Pumpkin seeds are also high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can contribute to healthy testosterone levels and improve overall health. Together, all these factors may benefit fertility levels and reproductive function, especially in me

May Help Improve Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to eat some pumpkin seeds before bed. They’re a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote sleep. Consuming around 1 gram of tryptophan daily is thought to improve sleep. However, you would need to eat around 7 ounces (200 grams) of pumpkin seeds to achieve the needed amount of tryptophan. The zinc in these seeds can also help convert tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium levels have also been associated with better sleep. Some small studies have found that taking a magnesium supplement improved sleep quality and total sleep time in people with low magnesium levels.

May Help Improve Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to eat some pumpkin seeds before bed. They’re a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote sleep. Consuming around 1 gram of tryptophan daily is thought to improve sleep. However, you would need to eat around 7 ounces (200 grams) of pumpkin seeds to achieve the needed amount of tryptophan. The zinc in these seeds can also help convert tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium levels have also been associated with better sleep. Some small studies have found that taking a magnesium supplement improved sleep quality and total sleep time in people with low magnesium levels. (Source:- healthline.com)



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