The benefits of pumpkin seeds are many but a lot of people are not aware of this. In the current scenario where prices of popular nuts like almonds and cashews are skyrocketing, pumpkin seeds are a fantastic option — low-cost and loaded with so many vital nutrients. Pumpkin seeds, as the name suggests, are the edible seeds of the pumpkin fruit. Pumpkin fruits originated from North America (Mexico and U.S.A) and are now grown all over the world.
Apart from the seeds, nearly all other parts of pumpkins are also edible; their flowers, leaves, and the flesh inside. When the pumpkin fruits are green and young, people cook them the way they cook zucchini. If you want to know the health benefits of pumpkin seeds and learn how you can add them to your diet, read on.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Here is a list of pumpkin seeds uses and benefits. We have also mentioned the essential pumpkin seeds nutrition facts that make them an ideal addition to your daily diet.
1. Maintaining Bone Health
Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of magnesium, which helps in bone formation and ensures proper bone density. In older women, a high intake of magnesium prevents osteoporosis after menopause.
2. Prevention of Diabetes
Because of their high content of magnesium and antioxidants, pumpkin seeds help in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds daily leads to an improvement in insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels.
3. Keeping the Heart Healthy
The magnesium content of the pumpkin seeds helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The fibre content of the pumpkin seeds helps in lowering blood cholesterol. This translates into a reduced risk of heart disease in future.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids too. They keep blood pressure under control, lower the risks of heart-related problems, and improve circulatory health.
4. Keeping the Liver Healthy
The combination of fibre, antioxidants, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids has a positive effect on the liver.
5. Maintaining Healthy Digestion and Weight
Being rich in fibre, pumpkin seeds help in keeping your digestive system in good shape. They make you feel full, preventing snacking between meals. So, you eat moderately and your weight remains under control.
6. Protecting the Immune System
Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of vitamin E, Zinc, and antioxidants, which strengthen the immune system.
7. Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Hair
Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin (amino acid) and vitamin E. Both of them help in boosting hair growth.
8. Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Men
Pumpkin seeds have zinc and DHEA (dehydoepiandrosterone), a male sex hormone found in both men and women. Zinc promotes fertility in men and DHEA reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds help in the treatment of overactive bladder too.
9. Promoting Good Sleep
Pumpkin seeds contain serotonin, which is a neurochemical and tryptophan, an amino acid that converts serotonin inside the body. Serotonin has a sleep-inducing effect. So, if you have sleep-related problems, having some pumpkin seeds before going to bed will be quite beneficial.
Using Pumpkin Seeds in Food Items
There are many convenient ways to consume and get the benefits of pumpkin seeds. Let us look at them one by one.
- Scoop them out from the pumpkin fruit. Rinse the seeds and roast them. Add salt and spices as per your taste.
- If you want to eat the pumpkin seeds raw, it is better to soak them first for 8-10 hours. This removes the harmful enzymes and aids digestion.
- Purchase the pumpkin seeds from a grocery store. They are easily available these days. Have them raw or grind them for further use in other food items.
- Add pumpkin seeds to smoothies, hummus, yoghurt, etc.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads, soups, breakfast cereals, etc.
- Use them in making desserts or when baking cakes and biscuits.
Side-Effects of Pumpkin Seeds
It is noteworthy that these side effects are seen only when you over consume pumpkin seeds or are allergic to them.
Therefore, take only moderate amounts of pumpkin seeds or have them with other foods. Excessive consumption may have harmful side effects and neutralize the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
- Pain and cramps in the stomach.
- Unsafe for infants. It may cause stomach pain, cramps, and loose motions.
- Increased urination. If you are on diuretics, you might urinate far more than normal. This will upset your body’s natural minerals balance.
- May cause allergies.
- Lowering of blood sugars below normal in case of people with hypoglycemia and those on anti-diabetic medications.
- Pumpkin seeds give you a high amount of calories and fats. So, those who are following weight loss programs need to watch out.
- Lowering of blood pressure below normal. If you are hypotensive or on antihypertensive medications, you need to be careful while taking pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are wonderful food items. They are packed with many useful nutrients, such as magnesium, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, antioxidants, etc. Because of their rich nutrients, there are many benefits of pumpkin seeds. However, take proper care while consuming pumpkin seeds, as their excessive and improper consumption have adverse side effects.
If you found this article interesting and useful in planning a balanced diet for yourself and your loved ones, do share your comments. We look forward to reading them.