As well as its scrumptious orange flesh, pumpkins yield delicious and highly nutritious seeds. Known as pepitas, they are dark green and flat with a chewy texture and rich nutty flavour. These seeds are dense in minerals, with just a quarter of a cup providing approximately half the daily recommended dose for magnesium and iron, in addition to high doses of zinc, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, manganese and copper. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan known for anti-depressant qualities, and essential fatty acids that have a wide-range of health-promoting properties.

The dark green oil produced from pumpkin seeds has been used throughout history in India, Europe and America to fight parasites, aid the digestive tract and help with prostate and reproductive disorders. It has also been recommended for pregnant and lactating women because of its high content of essential fatty acids.

Happy Seeds

Pumpkins seeds contain lots of L-tryptophan, known to have anti-depressant properties, so it’s suggested eating them can elevate your mood. Pumpkin seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are also known for alleviating depression and improving mental functioning in general, including memory improvement. Magnesium is known for its calming influence, with low levels often observed in those who suffer from nervous conditions, so the seeds may also help with anxiety.

Preventing Kidney Stones

Studies have shown that eating pumpkin seeds can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, reducing levels of the substances that promote the stone formation in the urine and increasing substances that inhibit that. The active ingredient responsible for this is not yet known.

Pumpkin Seeds and Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds contain chemical substances called cucurbitacins that inhibit the body’s ability to produce more prostate cells, thus helping to prevent against enlargement of the gland. The essential fatty acids in pumpkin seeds are also necessary for prostate health, as is zinc, which has been shown to reduce prostate size. In addition, low blood levels and low dietary intake of zinc has been linked to osteoperosis in older men.

Healthy Oils

Pumpkin seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, vital for a broad range of health functions in the body and great for brain function too. They also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Anti-Inflammatory Aid

Animal studies have revealed pumpkin seeds to be effective at reducing inflammatory symptoms, yielding favourable results over the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin, yet without the negative side-effects of the drug (such as increased levels of damaged fats in the joint which can actually contribute to the disease).

Pumpkin Seeds Are (Summary):

• Mineral Dense

• ‘Feel-Good’ Amino Acid Tryptophan

• High in Zinc

• Promotes Prostate Health

• Prevents Kidney stones

REFERENCES:

Pratt, S.G., Matthews, K., SuperFoods Rx : Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, William Morrow; 1st edition, 2004
Wolfe, D. Eating for Beauty, Nature’s First Law, 2002
Suphiphat V, Morjaroen N, Pukboonme I, et al. The effect of pumpkin seeds snack on inhibitors and promoters of urolithiasis in Thai adolescents. J Med Assoc Thai 1993;76:487–93
Suphakarn VS, Yarnnon C, Ngunboonsri P. The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;45:115–21
Hyun T, Barrett-Connor E, Milne D. Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study. Am J Clin Nutr, Sept. 2004:80(3):715-721
Jayaprakasam B, Seeram NP, Nair MG. Anticancer and antiinflammatory activities of cucurbitacins from Cucurbita andreana. Cancer Lett 2003 Jan 10;189(1):11-6.
Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986.
Jayaprakasam B, Seeram NP, Nair MG. Anticancer and antiinflammatory activities of cucurbitacins from Cucurbita andreana. Cancer Lett 2003 Jan 10;189(1):11-6.
Hyun T, Barrett-Connor E, Milne D. Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study. Am J Clin Nutr, Sept. 2004:80(3):715-721.

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