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Top 10 reasons to gorge on pumpkin seeds

Ever wondered how pumpkin seeds can boost your health? Read to know the answer.

Pumpkin seedsPumpkin or kaddu is unique in its taste and rich in color making it a perfect vegetable to cook with. While the fruit itself has a large number of health benefits, it's seeds are not far behind when it comes to giving your fitness quotient a much needed boost. So, to help you out, here are the 10 reasons you should gorge on pumpkin seeds ever-so-often:

They are great for your heart:

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) contain magnesium that plays a vital role in maintaining your heart health. The magnesium helps maintain the proper supply of blood to your heart and relaxes your blood vessels. Thereby controlling your blood pressure and preventing serious conditions like a heart attack and stroke. Apart form that, phytosterols present in these seeds help maintain steady levels of cholesterol in your body and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Read more about some foods that you can eat to beat cholesterol.

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The seeds help regulates sleep:

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with high levels of tryptophan. This amino acid is essential for the production of serotonin which in turn gets converted into melatonin - the sleep hormone. So, if you want a good night's rest, eat a handful of pumpkin seeds before bed along with a small fruit.

Gives your immune system a boost:

Rich in zinc content, pumpkin seeds helps in regulation of immune function along with decreasing the risk of viral infections. These seeds also contain vitamin E and selenium which prevents tissue injury caused due to free radicals and strengthens our defence mechanism. Here are some other foods you can eat to improve your immunity.

Helps keep your prostate glands healthy:

Pumpkin seeds are regarded as an important natural food for men due to their significant role in maintaining prostate health. Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil and the seeds itself, contain zinc which supports the normal functioning of prostate gland and helps in the treatment of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) [3].

Regulates your blood sugar levels:

Pumpkin seeds are found to improve the regulation of insulin and hence prevents the onset of diabetic complications. They are loaded with iron and good fats which helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Read more about the foods you can eat to keep diabetes at bay.

Is great for women too:

Being abundant in magnesium, pumpkin seeds lessen various complications that occur during menstruation such as insomnia, breast pain, bloating, etc. Studies have shown that these seedsreduce hot flashes, headaches as well as joint pain along with improving HDL cholesterol levels and mood in postmenopausal women [4].

Prevents depression:

A hormonal imbalance also causes depression. Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that is responsible for the production of serotonin. This hormone plays a vital role in regulation of behavior along with exerting positive effects on sleep, mood, appetite and pain. Here are some foods to boost brain power.

Helps your digestive system work better:

Certain chemicals present in pumpkin seeds exert a diuretic effect (increase urination) on your body; thereby relieving bladder discomfort. They also contain an amino acid cucurbitin which acts as an anti-bacterial agent eliminating intestinal worms from the digestive system. Read about yoga poses that improve digestion

Is great for people with arthritis:

Pumpkin seeds are packed with fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids exert anti-inflammatory action that lowers your risk arthritis along with providing relief from pain.

Helps in weight loss:

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of proteins, which helps you to manage your hunger and aid in weight loss. It also contain iron which helps to maintain high energy levels in the body and thus prevents you from craving sugary and high-calorie foods. Read about weight loss diet plan that you can use.

References:

  1. Pumpkin WebMD
  2. Mukesh Yadav et al Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review
  3. Gossell-Williams M Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil.
  4. Gossell-Williams M Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study.
  5. Makni M et al Hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of flax and pumpkin seed mixture rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hypercholesterolemic rats.
  6. Hudson C et al Protein source tryptophan versus pharmaceutical grade tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for chronic insomnia.
  7. Fahim AT et al Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats.

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