Do you throw away the seeds of all fruits and vegetables? You should stop because some of them are a powerhouse of nutrients. Example: pumpkin seeds! This kid from the superfood block is an unsung hero that you need to know more about. Don’t be fooled by the size of these tiny seeds as they are rich in several nutrients and provide several health benefits. From their crunchy, earthy flavor to their impressive nutritional profile, pumpkin seeds can become your secret weapon for staying fit and focused. Still don’t believe us, let’s take a look at the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin or pumpkin seeds are a storehouse of many nutrients, including healthy fats, magnesium, selenium, iron and antioxidants, says Aruna Mallya, senior dietician at KMC Hospital.
Since it contains several nutrients, here are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds that you should know:
1. Keeps your heart healthy
It is a good source of magnesium, zinc, polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants and can help keep your heart healthy. A study published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice shows that including pumpkin seeds in your diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for developing heart disease.
2. Rich in magnesium
Did you know that one of the biggest benefits of pumpkin seeds is that they are a natural source of magnesium? From managing your blood pressure to reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining healthy bones and controlling diabetes, magnesium is important for maintaining overall health. Dietitian Aruna Mallya says: “Magnesium is essential for bone formation and low levels of this nutrient pose a risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. A quick pre- or post-snack of these seeds helps meet the recommended daily amount of magnesium.”
3. Boosts immunity
Pumpkin seeds contain properties such as zinc that help maintain a healthy immune system, according to a study published in the journal Food Production, Processing and Nutrition. Plus, they’re also rich in iron, selenium, vitamin E, and antioxidants, all of which are great for keeping your immune system healthy.
4. Causes sleep
Can’t sleep well? Try adding pumpkin seeds to your diet. The dietitian explains that pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps against insomnia. “Our body converts tryptophan into serotonin, a feel-good hormone, which makes you feel relaxed and get a good night’s sleep.”
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5. Good for digestion
Pumpkins are also rich in fiber and can help relieve constipation and aid digestion. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that the high fiber content in pumpkin seeds aids digestion. Mallya says adding pumpkin seeds to your diet, along with exercise and lifestyle modification, is good for keeping overall digestive health. It can also help you lose weight and regulate blood sugar levels.
6. Protect against cancer
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that pumpkin seed extracts contain properties that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Other studies have found the positive effects of pumpkin seeds on cancer. The expert says the antioxidants in pumpkin seeds can help protect you against cancer.
7. Regulate blood sugar levels
Adding pumpkin seeds to your diet can even help control your blood sugar levels. A study by Nutrition Research found that people who added pumpkin seeds to their diet experienced a reduction in their blood sugar levels. So it can help regulate your blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed to know the effects of pumpkin seeds on diabetes.
How do you add pumpkin seeds to your diet?
Since pumpkin seeds are rich in so many nutrients, it becomes important to know how to incorporate them into your diet. Here are some ways suggested by the expert to help you make pumpkin seeds part of your diet.
- Use it as a thickener in gravies and curries.
- Add them to cereal and bread.
- You can roast them and eat them as a snack.
- Pumpkin seeds can be added to smoothies and energy bars
- You can add them to salads and soups.
Also read: 5 Side Effects of Eating Too Many Pumpkin Seeds
Are there side effects if you eat too many pumpkin seeds?
The benefits of pumpkin seeds are for everyone, but you should be careful to eat them in moderation. Pumpkin seeds provide approximately 163 Kcal of energy, 8.5 g of protein and 13.9 g of fat. It also contains other nutrients that can help you maintain overall health. You can add this nutritious and tasty superfood to your diet and consume it at any time of the day. However, overconsumption of anything should be avoided to reduce the risk. It goes without saying that you should only add pumpkin seeds to your diet after speaking with a doctor.