Pumpkin originated from the Americas and play an important role in healthy diet.
It appears in such religious events, such as Halloween in the Western countries.
Pumpkins are delicious and full of nutrients, which has been well-known for thousands of years.
However, in fact, health benefits of pumpkin seeds are also as old as those of pumpkins.
Many centuries ago, several native American tribes considered these seeds as sacred because of their medicinal and dietary qualities.
The use of pumpkin seeds emerged in the Aztec culture around 1300-1500 AD.
With the development of exploration of trade throughout human history, pumpkin seeds expand their popularity across the world.
Nowadays, pumpkin seeds are commonly known as an important part of many cuisines, in both Eastern and Western cultures.
The leading producer of pumpkin seeds in this day and age is China, followed by India and Russia. The U.S is the fifth in the list of top producers.
Despite its small size, pumpkin seeds can be seen as a rich source of nutrients that are beneficial for human health.
An ounce of pumpkin seeds provides about 150 calories, most of which come from its content of protein and fat (1).
Per an ounce, pumpkin seeds contain about 13 grams of fat with 6 grams of omega-6s which is claimed to be very good for our health.
Besides, this amount also includes 1.7 grams of fiber which constitutes many pumpkin seeds health benefits, especially on our digestion.
Some remarkable names of essential minerals found in pumpkin seeds are magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper and zinc…
Another outstanding feature of pumpkin seeds nutrition facts is its richness of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The presence of seed oil is also responsible for many health benefits of pumpkin seeds (2).
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Below are top 7 health benefits of pumpkin seeds that you should know in order to make the best use of this small ingredient.
1. Cancer Prevention
One of the best health benefits of pumpkin seeds is shown in the prevention against many different types of cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer (3).
There have been many studies focusing on the effectiveness of pumpkin seeds to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men (4).
On the other hand, some research indicated that the increasing consumption of pumpkin seeds in postmeopausal women is associated with the decreasing possibility of breast cancer (5).
According to the results from a number of studies, lignans that are present in pumpkin seeds are one of the deciding factors in preventing and dealing with breast cancer (6).
Bottom Line: It is scientifically proved that pumpkin seeds might have preventive effects against many types of cancers.
2. Bone Health
The next among top health benefits of pumpkin seeds is to assist you in handling some bone-related problems, such as osteoporosis (7).
In addition, it will have positive effects on your bone health in general.
This quality comes from the richness of some essential minerals in pumpkin seeds, such as copper, calcium and zinc.
Bottom Line: With the high amount of minerals, pumpkin seeds are effective to improve your bone health.
3. Heart Health
Pumpkin seeds have many appropriate qualities for the efforts to improve your heart health.
It is also one of the best and oldest health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
In fact, pumpkin seeds contain a considerable number of antioxidants and fatty acids which guarantee a healthy heart.
Some studies on animals revealed the efficiency of pumpkin seed oil in lowering the level of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are responsible for most cases of heart disease (11).
On the other hand, the amount of nitric oxide enzymes found in pumpkin seeds is beneficial for the heart health, according to the results of several studies (12).
Nitric oxide plays an essential role in the expansion of blood vessels and the improvement of your blood circulation. Both of them put an end to the growth of plaque in your arteries.
In a study, 35 postmenopausal women used pumpkin seed oil.
After 12 weeks, their level of HDL, or “good”, cholesterol experienced an increase by 16 percent.
Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds can foster your heart health by raising good cholesterol level and lowering blood pressure.
4. Sperm Improvement
To improve the quality of sperm is also one of the most important health benefits of pumpkin seeds, especially for those who have difficulty making their wife conceived.
Infertility is closely related to the deficiency of zinc (13).
Considered as an abundant source of this element, pumpkin seeds can undeniably enhance sperm quality.
Furthermore, the antioxidants present in pumpkin seeds are beneficial for the level of healthy testosterones in men’s body.
Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds can increase the reproductive function by raising the quality of men’s sperm.
5. Lower Blood Sugar
Pumpkin can have great impacts on reducing the blood sugar, whether you use it in the form of powder, seeds or juice (14).
These health benefits of pumpkin seeds might be particularly useful for diabetic patients who have difficulty controlling the blood sugar.
In fact, a number of studies reveal that those who suffer from type 2 diabetes can use pumpkin seed powder to lower the blood sugar effectively (15).
This advantage results from the richness of magnesium in pumpkin seeds.
Another study with more than 127,000 male and female participants showed that magnesium could result in a 33-to-34-percent reduction in the possibility of type 2 diabetes (16).
However, there is still a need for more studies to make a clear conclusion on these pumpkin seeds health benefits.
6. Obesity Prevention
Fiber is one of the brightest points in pumpkin seeds nutrition facts.
You will even pay more attention to fiber when you know fiber is repsonsible for one of the best health benefits of pumpkin seeds – to support your weight loss.
In fact, this benefit is the combination of many positive effects of fiber on your general health.
For example, fiber-rich foods are related to a healthy digestive system (17).
It is also helpful for preventing the concentrate of fats in the body and reducing obesity (18).
7. Better Sleep
When it comes to health benefits of pumpkin seeds, few people are aware that they can actually help deal with sleep disorders.
In pumpkin seeds, there is an amino acid called “tryptophan” which plays a vital role in the promotion of sleep.
Only one gram of this amino acid on a daily basis can help you sleep more easily and better (19).
And one gram of tryptophan can be absorbed from about 200 grams of pumpkin seeds.
Moreover, zinc in pumpkin also participates in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin and then, melatonin, which enhances the quality of your sleep.
Magnesium which exists with considerable amount in these seeds fosters your sleep as well (20).
Bottom Line: Many nutrients in pumpkin seeds, such as zinc, magnesium and tryptophan, are beneficial to raise the quality of your sleep.
Although health benefits of pumpkin seeds have been popular for thousands of years, their side effects have attracted attention recently.
It is true that everything might become negative if not consumed in the right amount.
The first side effect of pumpkin seeds is to trigger indigestion because it might be quite difficult for some people to chew these stringy and tough seeds.
Besides, the excessive consumption of pumpkin seeds might result in diarrhea and intestinal gas due to the over-provision of fiber.
Some people, on the other hand, even have allergic reactions to pumpkin seeds.
Therefore, you had better make sure you know well your condition before using these seeds.
This section is designed to provide you with some infographics to grab a quick understanding of pumpkin seed nutrition and health benefits.
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Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.