Ok, Halloween is over, and maybe many of you have still some rests like pumpkins around the house? Well you should start eating them if they are still good! And more especially, their seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are tasty treats that will help you boost your energy levels and give you many health benefits all at the same time. They contain a wide variety of essential nutrients, proteins and fats. They also contain beneficial plant compounds like phytosterols and powerful antioxidants. They are also rich in fibers and help you boost your healthy fiber intake.
They need no refrigeration and are easily portable. Therefore, they are a perfect snack easy to have and give a lot of taste and crunchiness to your meals!
Now let’s see in more details what the health benefits of pumpkin seeds are:
1. A rich source of Magnesium
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of many essential nutrients, like Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Selenium, and more particularly Zinc and Magnesium.
Today, 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. Mainly because of the bad quality food and processed food they are having, but also because soils are depleted in good minerals, and therefore our food is depleted too.
Magnesium is crucial for most of the primary functions of our body:
- Creation of ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate), which is the Energy of all our cells
- Bones and teeth formation
- Synthesis of DNA and RNA
- Relaxation, muscles, blood vessels and nerves calmness
- Cardiovascular health (heart pumping)
- Overall good digestion, especially bowel function
Magnesium is also essential to maintain good blood pressure and may help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke.
The good news is that in 1/4 cup of Pumpkin Seeds (37g), you have 100% of Recommended Daily Amount of Magnesium.... so yes, go and get them :-)
2. A rich source of Zinc
Most of us are deficient in Zinc for the same reasons as for our Magnesium deficiency: quality of the soils, and bad food. But Zinc is crucial, especially regarding your Immune System. Zinc plays a major role in:
- Cell growth and division
- Senses of taste and smell
- Insulin regulation
- Eye and Skin health
- Sleep and mood balance
- Male sexual function
Many drugs also inhibit Zinc absorption, and plant-based diets (especially high in grains) make it even harder to get enough from it.
If you tend to catch a cold or flu regularly, if you are chronically fatigued, have skin problems (acne), and suffer from depression, you might as well be deficient in Zinc. Zinc can even help children with learning problems. Pumpkin Seeds are an amazing natural tasty way to increase your Zinc consumption: 1 ounce (28g) of Pumpkin Seeds contain 2mg of Zinc. This Zinc in its natural form is easily recognized and absorbed by your body. One more reason to enjoy this tasty treat.
3. Prostate Health and Women’s Post-menopausal help
For men’s health: Prostate is one of your body’s part that has the highest concentration in Zinc. Therefore, Pumpkin Seeds can be extremely beneficial to maintain your prostate’s health. They help to regulate sexual function and pumpkin seed oil may even help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH (problem of enlarged prostate).
For women’s health during or after menopause: Pumpkin Seeds are rich in natural phytoestrogens and may help relieve common symptoms occurring at menopause, and more particularly:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Hot flashes
- Joints pain
Thanks to the healthy fats they contain, Pumpkin Seeds also help improve your overall Cholesterol profile (see ARTICLE ABOUT CHOLESTEROL HERE).
4. Help for Diabetes
Pumpkin Seeds help balance your Insulin levels, and also help prevent common diabetic complications by decreasing the overall oxidative stress due to their large amount of antioxidants).
5. Cardiovascular health and Liver detoxification
Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats (see ARTICLE ABOUT FATS HERE or ARTICLE ABOUT CHOLESTEROL HERE), antioxidants and fibers. And especially when they are mixed with Flax Seeds, they help boost your heart health and facilitate your liver detoxification mechanism (which is the main function of your liver).
6. Help to improve your Sleep
Pumpkin Seeds are rich in Tryptophan, an Amino Acid (protein building block) that gets converted into Serotonin, which in turn gets converted into Melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleep! So yes, if you struggle having a good night of sleep, have some Pumpkin Seeds a few hours before going to bed, and with time this may help improve your rest time significantly.
7. Plant-based Omega 3 and anti-inflammatory properties
Pumpkin Seeds are one of best sources of ALA (Alpha-Linoleic Acid), a plant-based Omega-3. But ALA need to be converted into EPA and DHA, which are essential Omega-3s directly usable by your body. This conversion is made by an enzyme and unfortunately, many people lack this enzyme, especially when they struggle with high insulin levels. So animal-based Omega-3s (like Krill Oil) are still a better source of Omega-3 for you.
Because they are so rich in so many essential nutrients and antioxidants, Pumpkin Seeds may have a very potent anti-inflammatory effect on your whole body. An animal study showed they were as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin used for arthritis. And of course, without the side effects on this drug, especially regarding the liver.
HOW TO BEST EAT THEM?
First of all, you should always choose ORGANIC sources to avoid as many harmful chemicals as possible (pesticides, …).
Be careful if you smell or taste some rancidity: it might be the sign of a fungal infection in the seeds. So choose a fresh, non spoiled, RAW source of Pumpkin Seeds.
Like many seeds and nuts, Pumpkin Seeds contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. This anti-nutrient inhibits the absorption of all nutrients and vitamins of the Seeds. Therefore, to get rid of it, soak the seeds and nuts for at least 24 hours, and rinse them well. You can then roast them slowly on low heat in your oven (not more than 75 degrees Celsius or 170 Degrees Fahrenheit), sprinkled with some Himalayan Salt for 15-20 minutes.
Pumpkin Seeds are easy to eat, make a real good complete snack, and are delicious when topping your salads, vegetables or any other meals.
So who said it is not easy to eat healthy? :-)
In Health and Happiness,