Benefits of Pumpkin seeds: a remarkably healthy food

Harold Mandel's picture
A pumpkin and its seeds
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There is an unbelievable amount of nutrition in pumpkin seeds. These incredible little seeds have been considered a good medicinal product for thousands of years. Considering that these little seeds are delicious, it's incredible to learn that you may actually be a lot healthier and live a lot longer if you consume pumpkin seeds regularly. And this is a great time of year to enjoy pumpkin seeds with some coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Yahoo Health has reported, "Pumpkin Seeds: Amazing Natural Cure-all." Pumpkin seeds have been considered medicinal for more than 3,000 years in different parts of the world. These tasty seeds are loaded with potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K, and they are
rated as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

The George Mateljan Foundation for The World's Healthiest Foods reports on the amazing nutritional value of pumpkin seeds. The World Health Organization recommends the consumption of pumpkin seeds as a good way of obtaining this zinc. Zinc is especially concentrated in the endosperm envelope of pumpkin seeds, which is a very thin layer directly beneath the shell. Because it can be difficult to separate the endosperm envelope from the shell, eating the entire pumpkin seed shell will ensure that all of the zinc containing portions of the seed are consumed.

The large diversity of antioxidants which is in pumpkin seeds makes them unique in their antioxidant support. Conventional antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E are present in pumpkin seeds. Mineral antioxidants such as zinc and manganese are also present in pumpkin seeds. Phenolic antioxidants are also found in pumpkin seeds in a wide variety of forms. There are also antioxidant phytonutrients like lignans in pumpkin seeds. It is this diverse mixture of antioxidants in pumpkin seeds which may provide them with antioxidant associated properties that are not widely found in food.

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Plants that have a close relationship to the soil generally serves as special sources of mineral nutrients, and pumpkin, along with their seeds, are no exception. Pumpkin seeds have been found to be a very good source of the minerals and manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and a good source of the minerals zinc, iron, and copper.

Recent studies on laboratory animals have shown the ability of ground pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil to markedly improve insulin regulation in diabetic animals while also preventing some unwanted consequences of diabetes on kidney function. A decrease in oxidative stress has played an important role in many studies which show benefits of pumpkin seeds for diabetic animals.

Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have long been recognized for their antimicrobial benefits, which includes their anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Research has pointed to the role of unique proteins in pumpkin seeds as the primary source of many antimicrobial benefits. The lignans in pumpkin seeds have also been found to have antimicrobial, and particularly anti viral, properties.

There has been preliminary evidence of lowered cancer risk in association with pumpkin seed consumption. This appears to be due to the wide variety of antioxidant nutrients which are present in pumpkin seeds. Breast cancer and prostate cancer have received much attention in the research world in connection with pumpkin seed intake. This attention has focused primarily on the lignan content of pumpkin seeds. There has also been some focus on lignans in pumkin seeds in research on prostate cancer. Although the cancer related benefits of pumpkin seeds can't be described as being well documented in the research at this time, it appears pumpkin seeds may eventually be shown to have important health benefits in this area.

Pumpkin seed extracts and oils have long been used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a health problem which involves non-cancer enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH commonly affects middle aged and older men in the U.S. Various nutrients in pumpkin seeds have been linked to beneficial effects on BPH. These nutrients include phytosterols, lignans, and zinc. Studies on BPH have generally involved extracts or oils rather than pumpkin seeds themselves. Therefore, it's not possible to tell whether everyday intake of pumpkin seeds in food form has a beneficial impact on BPH. However, overall it is clear that the tasty pumpkin seeds have a dramatic positive impact health.

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Comments

I didn't know pumpkin seeds have these many good benefits. Should start using more.