If you are pressed for time and want a quick, nutritious snack, then pumpkin seeds are an amazing choice. These tiny seeds are loaded with vital vitamins and minerals that will get you through a few hunger pangs in between meals.
Pumpkin seeds boast free radical antioxidants, which boost immune function and ward off the oxidative stress associated with many chronic diseases, according to a study published in Food Research International (2009).
Pumpkin seeds contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, folate, zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium, among other nutrients. These tiny health boosters may be a wonderful alternative to pill supplements, and they are easy to package and carry with you regardless of your daily schedule or plans.
From your office desk to the trail, let’s crack open 11 reasons you should add pumpkin seeds to your daily regimen.
A powerful anti-inflammatory food. Pumpkin seeds serve up a number of anti-inflammatory properties that can keep you going during long workdays. One study examined the inflammation-fighting powers of pumpkin seeds in comparison to the arthritis drug indomethacin in rats.
The study, published in Pharmacological Research (1995), found pumpkin seed oil to be as effective as indomethacin, without the drug’s side effects.
Zinc and immune function. One ounce of pumpkin seeds boasts nearly three milligrams of zinc, an essential mineral for healthy immune function. Zinc deficiency is associated with an increased likelihood of catching the flu and colds. Inadequate zinc levels in the body are also linked to depression, loss of focus, and fatigue, among other health issues. Pumpkin seeds may help keep your zinc levels optimal.
Boost omega-3 levels. Pumpkin seeds are a wonderful way to get the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) you need. According to Harvard School of Public Health, omega-3s may, “prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”
Magnesium for a healthy heart. Tiny pumpkin seeds offer 74 milligrams of magnesium per one-ounce serving, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional data. That is nearly 25 percent of your daily value (DV). Magnesium is vital to proper heart function, including relaxing your blood vessels and normalizing your heart rhythm.
Magnesium is also a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Healthy blood pressure and healthy erections. That is correct, pumpkin seeds can help ameliorate erectile dysfunction (ED), thanks to their potassium content. One ounce of pumpkin seeds serves up approximately 261 milligrams of potassium, according to the USDA.
Having sufficient potassium levels will help to improve blood pressure by counteracting your body’s sodium levels. This will allow blood to flow as it should, keeping things pointing north.
Nutrition for healthy liver function. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with many of the nutrients your body craves, including those necessary for proper liver function. Rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, these little seeds promote bile production — they are especially effective when combined with flax seeds. Secreted by the liver, bile assists with the breaking down and elimination of fats and toxins.
Alternative to sleeping pills. Taking an over-the-counter sleep aid can leave you feeling groggy and drowsy the next morning. This can negatively impact your productivity, especially if you are generally a morning person. Pumpkin seeds offer an exceptional, natural alternative to sleeping pills.
Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, which has been shown to be more useful than prescription tryptophan, according to a study published in Nutritional Neuroscience (2005).
Prevent and regulate type 2 diabetes. The high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds plays another essential role in keeping you healthy, specifically when discussing type 2 diabetes. Nearly 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, and roughly eight million are undiagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Magnesium deficiency could be one factor in insulin resistance, since it is a key mineral in your body’s glucose transporter mechanism, according to a study published in Biological Trace Element Research (2010).
Essential to men’s health. The zinc content in pumpkin seeds has been studied by various researchers for its role in the treatment of a common problem for men: an enlarged prostate. Zinc is considered an antitumor agent for prostate cancer, according to a study published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (2007).
Decrease menopausal symptoms. Women can also benefit from the nutritional power pumpkin seeds boast. According to a study published in the journal Climacteric (2011), pumpkin seed oil may increase HDL cholesterol while decreasing blood pressure and menopausal symptoms, including headaches and hot flashes.
Protein powerhouse. For their size, pumpkin seeds contain a significant amount of protein. Protein is essential to your overall health and wellness; it is in your muscles, bones, skin, and hair, accounting for almost everything that physically makes you who you are.
One ounce of pumpkin seeds delivers more than five grams of protein, according to USDA statistics. Consuming enough protein may help lower your risk of developing several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
To get the maximum nutrition out of pumpkin seeds, make sure you eat them raw. To ensure they are fresh, smell the seeds before purchasing them at your local health-food store or grocery store. Buying pesticide-free, organic pumpkin seeds is optimal.
The humble pumpkin seed is a bite-sized health powerhouse that can keep you healthier and happier, whether you are sitting at your desk waiting for lunch, hitting the trail, or even watching a movie at home. They can be a replacement for almost any snack — combine pumpkin seeds with other superfoods, like flax seeds or dried berries, and you have the makings of a highly nutritious snack.
Do you power up with pumpkin seeds?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.