Interesting Facts About Pumpkin Seeds

There are numerous benefits in consuming pumpkin seeds. We can get pumpkin seeds at a snack aisle easily, however according to Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, pumpkin seeds are lower in sodium and contain more of the minerals when they are organic and unprocessed.1 Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as a good source of zinc, magnesium and tryptophan. Here are the functions and benefits of each nutrient:

     Zinc

  • Boost our immune system as it is necessary for immune cell function and cell signaling. A review of seven studies demonstrated that 80-92mg per day could reduce the length of common cold by up to 33%.2
  • Accelerates wound healing. Zinc is commonly used for the treatment of burns, certain ulcers and some skin injuries. It promotes collagen synthesis, immune function and inflammatory response.2


    Magnesium

  • Supports hundreds of chemical reactions in our body, which includes converting food into energy, creating new proteins from amino acids, genetic maintenance, muscle movements and nervous system regulation. 
  • Magnesium can help to move sugar from blood into muscles and dispose of lactate, that is why it is popular among athletes.

    Tryptophan

  • Is an amino acid that can promote sleep. 
  • 1 gram  of trytophan daily is shown to be able to improve sleep. That is equivalent to about 200 grams of pumpkin seeds a day.3
  • The zinc in these seeds can also help convert tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. 4

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Antioxidant properties 4 
Reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals. In one study, pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis without side effects, whereas animals given an anti-inflammatory drug experienced adverse effects

Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol 4

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%. 4 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. 4

The Most Significant Benefit of All – Men’s Prostate Health

Pumpkin seed has long been used to treat micturition disorders and has found a place in the medical treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH) over the past decades. The improvement of LUTS in men with BPH was confirmed in clinical practice. 

  • The ingredient delta-7-sterols found in pumpkin seeds is attributed for its BPH therapeutic effects. This ingredient is rare and has not been found in other sterol-containing plant extracts. 5
  • Pumpkin seed extract is the first herbal preparation ever verified in accordance with the clinical research criteria of the International Consultation on BPH. 5
  • In a 12 months study, it has been proven that the treatment with pumpkin seed led to a clinically relevant reduction in International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) compared with placebo.5
  • According to the health library of Winchester Hospital, the recommended dosage for pumpkin seed is 5 grams seed 1 to 2 times daily. 6

Making Pumpkin Seeds a Part of Our Daily Diet

1.Special sauce with pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be grinded with sauces such as pesto sauce and tartar sauce.

2.Drizzle over salads

Sprinkle roasted and muddled pumpkin seeds over salads to level up their nutrition quotient. The salad will be fulfilling and the creamy texture of the seeds will eliminate the need of a creamy dressing.

3. Blend in smoothies

It is the best trick to sneak in the seeds. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds in your blender with other ingredients. You wouldn’t know if the seed is actually part of the blend when the smoothie is done!

4.Nutritious add-on in desserts

People often have the misconception that desserts have to be sweet and of little nutritional value. But why not try pumpkin seeds instead! Revamp your desserts with a smattering of roasted pumpkin seeds. 

5.As a healthy snack

Pumpkin seeds in general have a neutral taste but it can be enhanced by adding some spices and other foods. Pumpkin seed snacks can be made by roasting them and adding onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper to them. Round off the dish with a squeeze of zesty lemon juice. Carry this snack to work or relish it in the comfort of your home.

Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and packed with powerful antioxidants. In fact, pumpkin seeds have been shown to benefit us in various aspects such as improving heart health, maintaining good cholesterol and blood pressure, regulates sleep quality, and most importantly, improving men’s prostate health. The best part is, pumpkin seeds can easily be added to our diet, allowing us to reap their many positive effects.

Reference

  1. Pumpkin seeds pack a healthy punch [Internet]. www.heart.org. 2020 [cited 11 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/25/pumpkin-seeds-pack-a-healthy-punch
  2. Zinc: Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources and Side Effects [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 11 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc
  3. Halson S. Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep. Sports Medicine. 2014;44(S1):13-23.
  4. Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds [Internet]. Healthline. 2020 [cited 11 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds
  5. Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of Pumpkin Seed in Men with Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in the One-Year, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled GRANU Study. Urologia Internationalis. 2014;94(3):286-295.
  6. Pumpkin Seed | Winchester Hospital [Internet]. Winchesterhospital.org. 2020 [cited 11 October 2020]. Available from: https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=111795