Ask the Pharmacist: 9 fantastic reasons to eat pumpkin seeds
Pumpkins can be white, yellow or green. They’re not all orange! Did you know Antartica is the only country that can’t grow a pumpkin?
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One average sized pumpkin can impart about a cup of seeds, about 500 seeds. I like to roast mine and sprinkle them with a little dried lime powder and sea salt. These are also excellent when roasted with olive oil and garlic/onion powder.
These seeds are not only delicious but also nutrient dense. Here are the health benefits from eating pumpkin seeds.
Thanks to their high fiber content, pumpkin seeds help regulate blood sugar and improve satiety. One study showed that animals who received a combination of ground flax and pumpkin seed powder exhibited better lab values and fewer problems as they pertain to diabetes.
Thanks to their alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content, the seeds can help with heart attack risk. Other foods with ALA content include flaxseed, walnuts, chia and hemp.
Magnesium (and potassium) is absolutely essential for healthy blood pressure and cardiac rhythm. Pumpkin seeds are particularly high in magnesium.
Immunity and prostate health
Zinc will help with both immunity and prostate health. An ounce of pumpkin seeds contain enough zinc to help you with immune function, prostate health and even testosterone production.
A handful of pumpkin seeds at dinnertime might improve your ability to relax and sleep. The reason is because of the magnesium which helps create more serotonin, which quickly breaks down to melatonin, a sleep hormone.
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and other compounds that support bladder and kidney health. There isn’t enough data to say whether it helps UTIs but I would guess that it probably helps reduce incidence.
Pumpkin seeds contain leucine, and also minerals which help you make testosterone. This is great because it improves energy, endurance, libido and strength. Testosterone is needed for both men and women’s health.
Zinc, magnesium and selenium deficiencies are harmful to bones. Without these minerals your risk for osteoporosis goes up. Eating pumpkin seeds can help you if you have osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are very high in carotenoids and zinc which protect your vision. Pumpkin seeds contain squalene which protects your skin from UV light damage and other forms of potentially dangerous radiation.
Like any food, there is the risk for allergy. If you’re sensitive to pumpkin seeds you might experience stomach pain after eating them, swelling or itching of the throat or skin rashes, hives or eczema-like irritations. You can buy pumpkin seeds at any health food store or supermarket.
Store bought pumpkin seeds can be stored in a container for about three or four months. Pumpkin seed oil is great for salads and soups and it is usually sold online or at health food stores.
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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.