The tiny seeds of pumpkin are often thrown away, but did you know that these seeds are loaded with nutrients? A common ingredient in Mexican cuisines and also a nutritious snack, I was surprised to discover these seeds for the first time, in my health mix.
Though fresh pumpkin seeds look white in colour, the ones we get in the stores are green. This is because the shell of the seeds is removed to get the green-coloured inner kernel. It is also the presence of the protochlorophyll pigment that contributes to the green colour of the seeds.
Popularly known as ‘pepitas’ in America, these oval-shaped, flat seeds have a sweet and mild flavour and taste better when roasted. They can be consumed either plain or flavoured with herbs or spices making a delicious snack.
Science says these healthy edible seeds are packed with several valuable nutrients. They are a rich source of protein and fibre and contain minerals and vitamins like magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, iron, vitamin K, vitamin E and so on.
Therefore, including this powerhouse ingredient in your healthy and balanced diet plan can be very beneficial for your overall health.
Here are some of the major health benefits of pumpkin seeds backed by science:
1. Helps in boosting immunity:
Pumpkin seeds are rich in several antioxidants that help in boosting immunity. The presence of vitamin E helps in maintaining healthy blood vessels along with strengthening the immune system. The zinc content in the seeds adds to the health of the immune system by fighting bacteria and viruses.
These seeds are also a good source of unsaturated fats like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which lowers the risk of several heart diseases. There are studies that point out, that consuming pumpkin seeds as part of a balanced diet can help in maintaining a healthy heart by preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Besides, antioxidants like magnesium help in lowering cholesterol levels. These seeds also increase nitric oxide levels in the body which in turn aids in expanding blood vessels and improving the blood flow, reducing the risk of heart problems.
3. Helps control blood sugar levels
High in magnesium, these tiny seeds can help in regulating blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of diabetes. There are studies that highlight the possible effect of pumpkin seeds on people with diabetes, helping them to manage their blood sugar levels and reducing their complications.
4. Improves bladder and prostate health
There are studies that say oil from pumpkin seeds could help treat or prevent several urinary diseases. A 2009 study observed that it helped in relieving symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges resulting in issues with urination.
Another study has proven its effect on managing the symptoms of an overactive bladder, which causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate that may be difficult to control.
5. Aids weight loss
Having pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack helps in weight loss. The seeds are rich in proteins and fibre which make one feel full for a long time thereby helping in reducing food intake and the number of calories consumed.
The fibre aids in good digestion and the zinc content helps in burning fat.
6. Improves sperm count
The zinc in the seeds can help in improving fertility in men by increasing sperm quality as well as sperm count. The antioxidants and other nutrients also contribute to the increase in testosterone levels which helps in improving overall health.
Nutritional Value, Phytochemical Potential, and Therapeutic Benefits of Pumpkin, published by National Center for Biotechnology Information on 24 May 2022.
Development of Immunonutrient from Pumpkin (Cucurbita Moschata Duchense Ex. Lamk.) Seed, published by ScienceDirect on 25 December 2014.
The potential of pumpkin seeds as a functional food ingredient: A review, published by ScienceDirect on 30 September 2020.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder, published by National Center for Biotechnology Information on January 2014.
Zinc is an Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men’s Health, Germination, Sperm Quality, and Fertilization, published by National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2018.
Wondering Why Should You Eat Pumpkin Seeds? Check Out The Reasons Below, published by NDTV on 20 July, 2022.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds?, published by Medical News Today on 28 July 2022.
7 Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds, According to Nutritionists, by Cynthia Sass; published by Health .com on 3 November 2020.
Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia, published by National Center for Biotechnology Information on December 2009.
Edited by Yoshita Rao