Pumpkin Seeds – Your Jam Packed Seeds of Nutrients
A lot of us enjoy the pleasure of nibbling down food whenever we feel hungry, emotional, nervous or even bored. But what we lack to keep in mind is our snacks content and how it can affect us and our health in the long run. That is why a lot of us fall victim to junk foods and other unhealthy snacks that are out on the market.
It is still not too late to shift from your sweets like chocolates, cakes, and candies and change it into something healthier but with the same satisfaction that your previous snacks can give you. One of these healthy “chow” is the humble yet healthy pumpkin seed. Why should you consider this as a healthy snack? Why not read along and find out for yourselves?
Pumpkin Seed “Know How’s”
Before we get to how pumpkin seeds can help us and our health, we have to get to know these “little buddies” of ours from its origin and how it became a healthy food snack. Of course knowing the ins and outs of something is much better and beneficial to us that just knowing what it is for, don’t you agree? So here are some quick tips and facts about pumpkin seeds.
Did You Know?
Pepita is another famous name for our pumpkin seeds. This name has been taken from the land of its origin which is Mexico. Some are flat and dark green in color while some are encased in a yellow-white colored shell. They have a very chewy texture when eaten and have a very sweet yet nutty flavor. Pepitas are well known as Halloween treats but they can be found all-throughout the year. Pumpkin seeds are marketed in many forms where some are shelled, unshelled, raw and roasted.
Pumpkin seeds are from the same family where watermelon, squash, cucumber, and cantaloupes are from (from the Cucurbitaceae family). They are generally under the “gourd” plant family to be more specific. They originated from the areas of native America namely North, South and Central America.
Do not be fooled of its miniature size because it is jam-packed with health-boosting contents that can help our bodies become stronger, healthier and energetic. Here are some healthy options that this seed can give us.
- Vitamin E
- Unsaturated Fats
How Much in a Day?
Of course, even though pumpkin seeds are a healthy treat, we still need to maintain and consume just the right amount in order to make it an even healthier snack. With that said, we need to know how much we get with just one tablespoon of pumpkin seed which are:
Zinc-almost 2.52mg per 0.25 cup.
Magnesium– 1.47mg per 0.25 cup.
Phosphorus-397.64mg per 0.25 cup.
Protein-9.75 grams per 0.25 cup.
Iron-2.84mg per 0.25 cup.
Best Way to Eat Them?
We love to experiment with our food especially how we prepare them and how we eat them. Pumpkin seeds are no exception to this as well. These seeds can be eaten as side dishes, garnish, and toppings to almost any type of meal. Be it your toppings for your oatmeal in the morning, your steak garnish for lunch, your salad dressing for dinner or even your “decoration” on top of your dessert. The possibilities are endless.
But the best and healthiest way to consume them is by eating them raw. Yes, just simply peel off its shell and eat it as is. The reason behind this is that its nutrients, minerals and vitamins are all still intact and secured without the fear of them being diminished because of roasting, frying or whatever other means of cooking the seeds will undergo. This goes to show that simplicity is truly the best way to go.
Now Comes It’s Health Benefits
Now that we have gotten a bigger grasp about what these little pumpkin seeds have, we can now safely anticipate that it can help us with our health and well-being. Having so much healthy options to offer, we can foresee that our health can be given a major boost once we add this healthy nibbles into our diets. Here are some health benefits that we can get out of consuming pumpkin seeds.
Helps Prevent and Fight Against Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) in Men
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is simpler terms is the enlargement of the male prostate glands casing urination issues which are getting more common nowadays. A very good way to counter this medical issue is to eat the right food. Zinc is a major player in dealing with the fight against this illness. So boosting up on zinc
Aids Against Infertility
Majority of the reason why men have low sperm counts is because of their body’s inability to produce enough zinc and testosterone. This is the reason why infertility becomes an issue. With the help of the rich amount of zinc and antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds, both of these problems can be resolved.
Has Anti-Diabetic Properties
Another vital role that magnesium plays in health is that it can aid in maintaining and lowering the blood sugar levels in our body. Thus, adding pumpkin seeds to your diet can greatly aid you especially if you are suffering from type II Diabetes. It also aids in improving, regulating and maintaining regular insulin production in our bodies.
Boost Your Immune System
Pumpkin seed and its healthy content can give our body a major immune boost in so many ways. Primarily the zinc content of these seeds plays a vital part when it comes to our immune system. This is because of zinc’s participation in our body’s immunity, cell growth and division, mood, sleep and many more.
Another factor is the availability of antioxidants that gives an added helping hand when it comes to our body’s immunity. Antioxidants are found to maintain and regenerate our body up to the very cellular component it has. This means that we are pretty much covered when it comes to immune health when we make eating pumpkin seeds a regular thing.
Provides a Healthier Digestive System
A diet with a high amount of fiber is healthy and beneficial for your digestive system. Majority of nuts, including pumpkin seeds, is a very rich source of fiber. Fiber will not only promote better digestion but it will also give a smoother transition when it comes to food absorption and decomposition.
A Great Aid for Post-Menopausal Issues
The great thing about pumpkin seeds is that it has natural phytoestrogen contents that can aid in women who are experiencing post-menopausal issues. Some health problems addressed by eating pumpkin seeds includes hot flashes, decreased body temperature, joint pains, headaches, camps and many more.
Great for the Heart and Liver
Pumpkin seeds in just a minimal amount (around one quarter of a cup) can give our body enough source of magnesium to make our circulatory system function properly and healthier. Having the right amount of magnesium can give our body the satisfaction of a better pumping heart, relaxed blood vessels and a regulated blood pressure. This, in turn, will prevent the occurrences heart-related illnesses such as cardiac arrest, stroke, and heart attack.
Another great thing about pumpkin seeds, especially when mixed with other healthy seeds like flaxseeds can give your body a healthy dose of antioxidants and fiber which is important when promoting a healthier and stronger liver. Add the healthy fats it has and you have the perfect mix of healthy seeds that can cover both your heart and liver health.
Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Our bodies need Omega 3 in order to become healthier but sadly, it cannot produce it on its own. We need to find our Omega 3 source elsewhere and for those who are not a fan of eating fish, then pumpkin seeds are a good source of this healthy fatty acid.
Helps Induce Sleep
The pumpkin seed is also filled with sleep inducing component known as Tryptophan. It is an amino acid which, when broken down by our bodies, are converted into melatonin which is more famously knows as our “sleep hormones”. So try making pumpkin seeds your “before bedtime” snack in order to have a better, deeper and more meaningful sleep.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Factor
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory agents like vitamin E and carotenoids, it can help reduce the risk of our bodies having prolonged inflamed wounds, joints, muscles and even arthritis. In fact, certain studies concluded that eating pumpkin seeds gives the same medicated effect of the drug Indomethacin to artistic patients without the presence of the medication’s side effects.
Having a healthy diet does not need to include a hearty or heavy meal. Sometimes, big things come in small packages. We just need to be more attentive in what we eat and how it can give our health a well-needed boost. Pumpkin seeds are a great example of “small yet terrible” snack (in a good way that is). Not only is it easy to eat, but it also provides so many nutrients that it can cover our entire body in terms of good health. So add these babies to your daily diet and see for yourselves.