9 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

9 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Indulging in pumpkin flavored lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin home decorations and pumpkin pies, we seem to have lost sight of an important part of pumpkins that is not only tastier but also more beneficial. Pumpkin seeds are truly one of a kind. If you’ve been carving pumpkins and throwing out the seeds all these years, you’ll change your mind after you read this. Pumpkin seeds make for a portable, crunchy snack and they’re chock-full of nutrients, comprising from protein and zinc, to copper and magnesium. Besides these, they also contain free radical scavenging antioxidants, which reinforce your health. Just by looking at them, you wouldn’t say pumpkin seeds are packed with so many nutrients. Despite their surprisingly small size, they are great allies against fatigue and depression, offering a slew of other benefits. Yes, there’s more to pumpkin seeds than meets the eye.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
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1. High in protein

Most vegetarians will know that pumpkin seeds are protein bombs. If you want to start cutting out red meat from your diet and make sure you get enough protein, consider snacking on pumpkin seeds in between meals. A cup of roasted seeds packs as many as 11.87 grams of protein and 11.8 grams of dietary fat. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of healthy fats, comprising as much as 12.42 grams of fat. You get all these for 285 calories. If the idea of snacking on pumpkin seeds in between lunch and dinner doesn’t appeal to you, it’s easy to incorporate them into your salads to add a crunchy texture.

2. Bolster magnesium intakes

Since they are high in fiber, pumpkin seeds are also rich in magnesium. This essential mineral is vital for regulating blood pressure and blood sugar, for helping kidneys function properly and controlling nerve function. A cup of roasted pumpkin seeds packs 168 mg of magnesium, exceeding half the recommended intake for an adult woman. If you’ve been taking magnesium supplements, but you’ve been looking for a more natural alternative, don’t discard the seeds next time you carve a pumpkin.

3. Boost your potassium

Another vital mineral is potassium. If you don’t get your needed daily intake, your chances of having a stroke will increase. Potassium is necessary for lowering blood pressure, maintain bones’ mineral density, fighting off muscle mass loss and preventing kidney stones formation. Providing 588 mg of potassium per cup, pumpkin seeds are the best allies for balancing minerals and regulating fluids. To get an inkling about how powerful these seeds are at providing your body with potassium, let’s compare it to the already famous source of potassium, the banana, which offers 422 mg. For the optimum daily potassium intake, snack on pumpkin seeds and a large banana.

4. Reinforce your immunity

A rich source of zinc, a cup of pumpkin seeds contains 6.59 mg, which is almost the entire recommended dose of 8 mg for a woman. Zinc is priceless for a good many reasons: it boosts the immune system, improving your mood and skin health. In addition to this, they improve eye health, promoting cell growth and insulin regulation. Zinc deficiency will manifest itself through chronic fatigue, numerous colds, depression and even acne. To keep these at bay, a cup of pumpkin seeds will provide a great part of the needed zinc daily intake, reinforcing your immune system.

5. Promote prostate health

Not only beneficial for women’s required daily mineral intake, pumpkin seeds are also of great help for men. Both pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds could play a major role in treating prostatic hyperplasia. Rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants, pumpkin seeds do a great job of preventing prostate cancer. A study carried out at the Wayne State University showed that when male subjects cut back on their zinc intake, their level of testosterone decreased after 5 months. More recent studies back up the claim that the compounds found in pumpkin seeds known as phytosterols can help with overall prostate health.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
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6. Packed with antioxidants

After enumerating so many essential nutrients and minerals that we can find in pumpkin seeds, it’s difficult to believe the list can go on. These seeds are a singular resource of antioxidants. Packing vitamin E, phenolic acids, syringic acid and antioxidant phytonutrients, pumpkin seeds make for a unique cocktail of antioxidants that is not frequently found in other foods.

7. They can make you happy

People struggling with depression or mood swings might find a trustworthy support in pumpkin seeds. Since they contain L-tryptophan, which is employed in producing serotonin and melatonin, pumpkin seeds could naturally improve mood. Having trouble falling asleep after a full day at the office staring at your laptop? Try munching on a few pumpkin seeds before heading to bed. The same L-tryptophan converts into what is also known as the “sleep hormone”, or melatonin, ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

8. Help you feel fuller

Pumpkin seeds are a great adjuvant in weight loss battles for a good reason. They load 1.7 dietary fiber in an ounce. Snacking on pumpkin seeds will help you feel fuller for longer and curve your need to reach out for unhealthy sugars. By controlling your appetite and only eating food that is rich in nutrients, your body will have an easy time adjusting to its natural weight and shedding a few extra pounds.

9. Sharpens vision

Pumpkin seeds meet all the important criteria for protecting the eyes and reducing the risks of developing macular degeneration. The high levels of zinc help vitamin A produce melanin and they also help slow down or prevent loss of vision. Zinc is also responsible for keeping infections at bay, including eye conditions and diseases.

The best way to incorporate pumpkin seeds in your diet is to eat them in their raw form. If you can’t harvest them from a fresh pumpkin, you can buy them in bulk, as long as they smell fresh. Soaking or sprouting is highly encouraged, since it brings out all the powerful nutrients. Pumpkin seeds can then be dehydrated in the oven or in a special dehydrator. It’s not difficult to roast your own pumpkin seeds. 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees F will yield a delicious and crunchy snack.

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Idelina Cepeda

Idelina is an American-Mexican middle school music teacher with a penchant for gardening and growing her own vegetables as much as possible. Idelinadevours short and long reads on topics of health and exercise, but she’s also fond of the occasional cocktail or two.
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