Pumpkin seeds are probably the most nutritious part of the pumpkin fruit. These super healthy seeds are excellent sources of nutrition. This is because they are excellent sources of vitamin A and essential minerals. They are also fair sources of vitamin B1 and niacin. In addition, pumpkin seeds are rich in active compounds that are essential to your health and wellness. These bioactive compounds are behind pumpkin seeds health benefits.
Also read, 6. Health benefits of pumpkin leaves
Healthful bioactive compounds in pumpkin seeds
The healthful bioactive compounds in pumpkin seeds include:
- Essential fatty acids (linoleic acid).
- High proportions of essential amino acids.
- Minerals- A rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
- Vitamins K, B 6, B 5, E, folate
- Many other phytonutrients
Several studies show that 58.8% of the dry weight of these seeds is protein. This shows that it is a valuable source of plant protein. Also, 29.8% of the dry weight is fat, most of which is a healthy fat.
The only major problem with pumpkin seeds is that they have a high calorific content. In 100 g of pumpkin seeds, you will get about 568 calories. This amounts to about a quarter of the daily energy requirements for an average person. Overeating your pumpkin seeds is not good for weight management.
Pumpkin seeds health benefits
1. Anti prostate cancer effects in pumpkin seeds health benefits
Pumpkin seeds are rich in oil. This oil has anti-prostate cancer properties. Consuming pumpkin seeds helps to decrease prostate cancer symptoms. It also helps to reduce bladder pressure. And it can help you improve your bladder compliance. Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly helps in decreasing urethral pressure. And it also helps in inhibiting prostate cancer cell growth.
Studies show that pumpkin seeds reduce hormonal damage to prostate cells. This helps protect the body from prostate cancer.
2. Alleviate against bladder stones
One of the pumpkin seeds health benefits is the ability to alleviate bladder stone disease.
Eating pumpkin seeds as snacks reduces the risk of bladder stone disease in children and adolescents. The longer the time you take these snacks, the higher the benefits. These seeds help in reducing calcium levels and calcium oxalate crystals in your urine.
Studies show that eating pumpkin seeds:
- Increases phosphorus, pyrophosphate and potassium levels in urine.
- It improves nutrient levels in the body.
- It also increases the levels of crystal formation inhibitors.
The high levels of phosphorus in pumpkin seeds help lower the risks of bladder stone disease.
All this reduces your risk of getting bladder stone diseases.
3. Blood cholesterol reduction
Cholesterol is essential for the body to function but it is harmful in excess. The cholesterol can be healthful (HDL cholesterol) or harmful (LDL cholesterol). Too much cholesterol in your diet is harmful to your health.
Dietary pumpkin seeds help normalise the adverse effects of high blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). This healthful effect is higher if you also use cholesterol-lowering drugs.
4. Antiparasitic and anthelmintic effects in pumpkin seeds health benefits
This is one of the most important pumpkin seeds health benefits. If you have persistent parasitic infections then pumpkin seeds may be the snack for you.
Pumpkin seeds are a beneficial food to people with acute schistosomiasis, a severe parasitic snail transmitted disease. Eating these seeds can help you resolve tapeworm infestations.
These seeds are also rich in cucurbitacins which help rid your body of intestinal parasites. The best thing about these super seeds is that they are safe for children and pregnant women.
Studies show that the seeds may also be effective against Cestoda tapeworm infestations.
5. Hypotensive/ Blood pressure lowering effects of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seed oil is good for lowering high blood pressure. It helps in retarding the progression of hypertension. Therefore, it can aid you in managing high blood pressure.
6. Antiarthritic snack
Pumpkin seed oil improves the levels of glutathione in your body. It also improves the levels of plasma proteins, lipid peroxide and other compounds that are affected in arthritic conditions. Therefore, the seeds help lower arthritis-related inflammation.
7. A natural anti-depressant
Eating pumpkin seeds can help you overcome depression. The antidepressant qualities of pumpkin seeds are due to the presents of tryptophan. Tryptophan is known to help in elevating your mood.
In China, pumpkin seeds are known as a remedy for depression. In one gram of pumpkin seed, there is as much tryptophan as in one glass of milk.
8. Pumpkin seeds are a natural antidiabetic
A compound called D-chiro- inositol was isolated from pumpkin seeds. The compound has anti-diabetic properties. These seeds also help in increasing insulin secretion. They induce an increase in the cell mass of beta cells that secrete insulin. This ensures that the body has adequate insulin for its metabolic functions.
Studies also show that pumpkin seeds lower blood sugar by stimulating the release of insulin from the pancreatic beta cells.
Incorporating these seeds in meals helps in reducing your post-meal blood glucose levels.
Also, the antidiabetic effects of pumpkin seeds may stem from their ability to quench the free radicals that destroy beta cells. This helps protect the insulin-secreting cells from free radical damage. This ability stem from the antioxidant properties of pumpkin seeds.
9. Antioxidant super seed
Oxidative stress is a hallmark of many chronic diseases and their related complications. Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps in fighting oxidative stress. Therefore one of the pumpkin seeds health benefits is that of helping you fight oxidative damage to your body.
10. Anticarcinogenic and anticancer effects
Cancer is a big health problem around the world. Many fruits and vegetables help in reducing the risks of getting cancers.
Diets rich in pumpkin seeds are associated with lower risks of gastric, breast, lung and colorectal cancers. Various carotenoids in pumpkin seed oil are anticarcinogenic. Therefore they help in neutralising the effects of cancer-causing carcinogenic compounds and conditions.
Other proteins in pumpkin seeds also help in inhibiting melanoma proliferation.
11. An anti-inflammatory super snack
Many chronic diseases start as inflammation of tissues. Anti-inflammatory compounds help in dealing with the inflammation that may occur in the body.
Pumpkin seed oil help in reducing inflammation that causes arthritis and hypertension. They inhibit compounds associated with inflammatory disorders.
12. Traditional pumpkin seeds health benefits
Roasted pumpkin seeds are eaten for relief from abdominal cramps and distention due to intestinal worms.
The seeds are ground into flour.
They are then mixed with water to make an emulsion.
The emulsion is taken to purge the stomach of the intestinal worms.
13. A treatment for urinary tract infections
Pumpkin seed oil is known to give quick relief to scalding urine and spasmodic infection of the urinary tract. It is also used as a herbal remedy for curing gonorrhoea.
14. Heart protective effects in pumpkin seeds health benefits
Pumpkin seeds play an essential role in the lowering of blood pressure and relaxing of blood vessels. Consumption of these super seeds helps in lowering blood pressure.
Pumpkin seeds have protective effects towards pathological changes in the aorta and coronary heart. The high magnesium levels in the seeds help in reducing the risk of a coronary heart attack. Pumpkin seeds supplements have the same effects as calcium channel blocker drugs used in treating heart problems.
15. Cytoprotective effects of pumpkin seeds
Some foods have compounds that protect your cells from metabolic assault due to toxic environments. Studies show that these seeds protect your cells from DNA disintegration, apoptosis and organ damage.
Several studies show that pumpkin seeds have excellent chemoprotective effects. Therefore they can protect the cells from toxic environments.
Conclusion on pumpkin seeds health benefits
Pumpkin seeds are super healthy food and snack, there is no doubt. Utilising them as healthy whole food snacks is a great way towards a healthy lifestyle. However, you must be wary of the calorific content of pumpkin seeds. This is because it’s not good for your weight management. This is the only dent in pumpkin seeds health benefits.