Quick Facts on Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds are an edible seed that is commonly roasted for consumption.
- They are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and are often eaten as a snack that provides all essential nutrients.
- They are sometimes referred to as pepitas, Spanish for “little seed of squash.”
- Pumpkin seeds may benefit your heart, liver and immune system, help combat diabetes, and offer added advantages for men’s prostate health and women’s relief of menopause symptoms.
- Like sesame seeds, these seeds are rich in fiber and thus are able to boost your fiber intake, thereby helping you reach the ideal amount of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed.
- Pumpkin seeds are extremely portable and need no refrigeration. They make an excellent snack to keep with you whenever you’re on the go, or can also be used as a quick anytime snack at home.
Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition
One ounce (28 grams) of shell-free pumpkin seeds has around 151 calories, mostly from fat and protein.
In addition, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving has:
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
- Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)
- Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
- Manganese: 42% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Zinc: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 19% of the RDI
They also contain antioxidants and a good amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits
1. Help You Lose Weight
This is one of the best snacks to lose weight. They might look small but are very dense and heavy foods that help you keep satiated and feel fuller for a longer period. They are also high in fiber which takes longer for your body to digest, leaving you full, thus curbing cravings.
2. High in Antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants namely carotenoids and vitamin E. Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from the dangerous free radicals. That’s why consuming foods rich in antioxidants helps protect against many diseases. It’s believed that the high levels of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are partly responsible for their positive impact on health.
3. Prevents Cancer
Diets profuse with pumpkin seeds have been associated with a lowered risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers. A study found out that eating them led to a reduced risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Other studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in preventing and treating breast cancer. Furthermore, some test-tube studies revealed that a supplement containing pumpkin seeds had the potential to decelerate the growth of prostate cancer cell.
4. High in Magnesium
Needless to say, pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium. Magnesium is a must-have for more than 600 chemical reactions taking place in your body. For example, sufficient levels of magnesium are important for:
- Controlling blood pressure
- Reducing heart disease risk
- Forming and maintaining healthy bones
- Regulating blood sugar levels
5. Improve Health
Pumpkin seeds are abundant with antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids — all of which take care of your heart health. A study in 35 postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seed oil supplements led to reduced diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of reading) by 7% and increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 16%. Pumpkins contain nitric oxide which helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries.
6. Improves Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds have long been hailed as an important natural food for men’s health. This is partly because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health, and also due to the fact that pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating mild prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds may be helpful in supporting prostate health.
- Improve Sleep
- Improve Sperm Quality
- Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
- Anti- Diabetic Effects
- Anti- Inflammatory Benefits
How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds
- Roast them. Put clean, rinsed seeds in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and 2 tbsp of salt for each cup of seeds. Boil, then drain and toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil and with some spices you like before roasting at 400 degrees for 20–25 minutes.
- Make pesto. This recipe uses pumpkin seeds and cilantro!
- Add them to your favorite granola.
- Top oatmeal with them.
- Garnish soups, maybe in a pumpkin curry stew.
- Add them to salads, like this roasted pumpkin salad.
- Top them on your favorite fall muffins and bread.
- Add them to rice pudding.
- Make salad dressing by processing pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley, and cilantro leaves, and then adding olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
- Add some to your favorite cookie recipe.
Wondering how to salvage the pumpkin seeds after Halloween decorations? Follow any of the aforementioned points and you can have a good meal having these seeds. In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh and not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Clearly, the benefits are just too much to gloss over. Incorporating them into your diet can be the game-changer for your health!
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