7 Surprising Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
It has been estimated that 15 million pumpkins are grown in the UK, the majority of which are carved into halloween decorations. On the other hand, experts reckon that we throw away 18,000 tons of seeds and pulp in the run-up to pumpkin carving season - the equivalent of 1,500 double-decker buses. The fruit of pumpkins can of course be made into all manner of delicious recipes - from pies to soups - but what about all those seeds?
Well, as it turns out, pumpkin seeds are an incredible resource, rich in a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Read on to discover some of our favourite reasons to enjoy pumpkin seeds...
They're Great for Your Immune System
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc which is crucial for your body in terms of immunity, cell growth, sleep, mood and senses of taste and smell. A deficiency in zinc has been linked to an increase in colds & flu, fatigue, depression and acne. With pumpkin seeds containing more than 2mg of this mineral, they're a great way to ensure you're getting your recommended daily allowance.
They Improve Heart Health
Pumpkin seeds contain nearly half of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium in just ¼ of a cup. Magnesium has been shown to regulate blood pressure and reduce risk factors for heart attack and stroke as well as benefiting correct bone and tooth formation. Many people are deficient in this important mineral and so a handful of pumpkin seeds can be a fantastic way to get your recommended daily allowance quickly and easily.
Linked to Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds have been linked to men's health for many years due to the previously mentioned high levels of zinc, an important nutrient for prostate health. Infection and stress have been shown to result in lower zinc levels, especially in the prostate and in prostatitis, zinc levels are only one-tenth of those in a normal prostate. Therefore it has been suggested that pumpkin seeds may play a role in treating an enlarged prostate.
Beneficial for Postmenopausal Women
Pumpkin seed oil contains plenty of phytoestrogens – a naturally-occurring plant nutrient that produces similar results to estrogen in the body. Therefore women who have a diet rich in phytoestrogens saw their symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and joint pain decrease significantly.
Helpful for a Great Night's Sleep
Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid used to produce niacin and serotonin which is thought to encourage healthy sleep. As tryptophan is an essential amino acid, it cannot be produced by the body and therefore we get it from our diet. Pumpkin seeds are rich in this amino acid and therefore eating a handful a few hours before bed can lead to a restful night's sleep.
Links have been found between pumpkin seeds and anti-inflammatory effects. Animal studies have suggested that it can work just as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis but without the side effects of over the counter drugs. They are often thought of as a natural way to counter the symptoms of arthritis.
Heart and Liver Health
As pumpkin seeds are dense in nutrients such as fats, omega 3s and fibres they can be a fantastic savoury, satisfying snack. Research published has found that pumpkin seeds when combined with flax seeds protect the liver from a high cholesterol diet as well as lowering the blood pressure.
To Sum Up
Pumpkin seeds are a valuable resource - not just as a source of nourishment, for also for our health. Why not take a look at our pumpkin seed supplement here?