Pumpkin Seeds: A Healthy Snack With Surprising Health Benefits

Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack that we can always look up to. They contain a variety of nutrients including magnesium, copper, zinc, B vitamins, iron, protein, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Regular consumption of these wonder seeds can provide our body with numerous health benefits.

May Possess Anticancer Properties

Pumpkin seeds contain active molecules like cucurbitin which inhibit the rapid growth of cancer cells.

In some experimental studies, experts have found that pumpkin seeds can inhibit prostate, breast, and colon cancer cell growth by 40-50%. They believed that this is due to the presence of estrogen-like molecules (phytoestrogens) in pumpkin seeds.

Moreover, in a study published in Nutrition and Cancer, results revealed that postmenopausal women had a reduced risk for breast cancer after consuming a high amount of dietary lignans, an antioxidant present in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Meanwhile, in another lab study, researchers found that pumpkin seed extract can help reduce breast cancer cells and tumor growth.

In a separate study published in the International Journal of Oncology, findings showed that pumpkin seed extract along with a number of other natural extracts can help suppress growth and reduce the size of prostate tumors. Also, when it comes to alternative or complementary treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia, pumpkin seed oil was found to be successful.

May Promote Hair Growth

Present in the seeds is good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which can help improve the texture of dry and brittle hair. Aside from this, they are also loaded with zinc, a mineral that boosts the production of hair proteins. According to a study, treating pumpkin seed oil for 24 weeks can help increase hair growth by 40% in men with baldness. This effect is mainly attributed to its active molecules called phytosterols which inhibit the enzymes (proteins) that breakdown hair protein and cause hair fall.

Can Help Induce Sleep

Serotonin, a neurochemical, which is also known as nature’s sleeping pill, is also present in pumpkin seeds. They have high levels of Tryptophan that converts into Serotonin in the body thus ensuring a sound night’s sleep. Simply consume a handful of pumpkin seeds before going to bed to enjoy this benefit.

Helps In Losing Weight

Pumpkin seeds are dense and heavy foods. They can help us feel full for a longer period of time as they are packed with fiber wherein regular consumption of at least 25 grams of it a day has been shown to reduce the risk for obesity (one serving of pumpkin seeds get you 20% of the way there).

Helps Boost Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds are great sources of magnesium. By eating a serving of it, we can enjoy 20% of our recommended daily magnesium needs.

In a study published in the American Heart Journal, results demonstrated that people with the highest blood magnesium levels had the lowest risk of death from cardiac disease. Magnesium was also found to be beneficial in reducing blood pressure, according to UK researchers who reviewed several studies.

Good For Diabetics

Pumpkin seeds, as well as its pulp and leaves, have antidiabetic effects. They help improve insulin regulation and decrease oxidative stress. Its flavonoids and saponins effectively control blood glucose levels and prevent inflammation of insulin-producing pancreatic cells.

How To Cook Pumpkin Seeds

Simply scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin. Clean the seeds and toss them with oil and seasonings like chili powder or salt. Now, spread them on a baking sheet to roast. Its end result is a crispy, crunchy delicious snack. Aside from this, we can also sauté them on the stovetop to achieve a similar crunchy texture.