HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Reasons why pumpkin seeds are good for your health

Pumpkin seeds may have a beneficial effect on overall health.

In Summary

• The high magnesium content in pumpkin seeds helps lower and regulate blood pressure.

• Pumpkin seeds may have a beneficial effect on overall health and the sexual health status.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin
Image: Pixabay

Pumpkin or ‘malenge’ as many Kenyans would call it has been known by experts to have excellent healthy oils, magnesium, and other nutrients that may benefit the heart, and bones and improve body function.

  1. Increased fertility

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. Researchers have determined that every 100 g of pumpkins seeds contains 7.99 mg of zinc.

Low zinc levels have been tied to reduce sperm quality. Pumpkin seeds may help protect prostate health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 80 per cent of women worldwide have an inadequate zinc intake. Pumpkin seeds can be a good source of zinc for pregnant women.

Zinc is also essential for normal immune function and the prevention of uterine infections. All of these could potentially contribute to preterm delivery.

The researchers concluded that pumpkin seeds may have a beneficial effect on sexual health status.

Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU
  1. They are good for your heart

The seeds have been found to contain plant sterols and phytosterols which are known to help reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Researchers carrying out a review of clinical trials concluded in 2013 that the combination of nutrients found in plant seeds can help protect the cardiovascular system and help prevent coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The high magnesium content in pumpkin seeds helps lower and regulate blood pressure.

They also have plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which play a role in heart disease protection, reduced risk of artery hardening, and anti-inflammation.

A person measuring her blood sugar
A person measuring her blood sugar
Image: Courtesy: Pinterest
  1. Help control blood sugar

The seeds are tasteless and on top of that, they are low in carbs and a good source of plant protein.

Research suggests that eating pumpkin seeds helps protect against type 2 diabetes or reduce its complications in other ways by decreasing oxidative stress, they may improve insulin regulation, and protect organs against the consequences of diabetes.

  1. High in antioxidants

The seeds are packed with cell-protective antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin E.

Pumpkin seeds also contain conventional mineral antioxidants like zinc and manganese. In addition to reducing inflammation, antioxidants help fend off premature aging and chronic diseases.

A German study, published in 2012, suggested that high consumption of pumpkin seeds may be linked to a lower risk of breast cancer after menopause.

Image: verywellhealth
  1. Good for eye and skin protection

Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) is rich in vitamin E, zinc, omega 3- and 6- fatty acids as well as antioxidants, therefore it has tremendous benefits for the skin in terms of retaining moisture, fighting free radicals, and maintaining a youthful appearance.

Fatty acids in the seeds help regulate proper skin oil production, which suits both oily and dry skin.

Squalene compound in the seeds occurs throughout all body tissues, and it appears to play a role in protecting the skin during UV and other types of radiation exposure as well as retinal health.

Pumpkin seeds on cake
Pumpkin seeds on cake
Image: Margaret Wanjiru
  • Add them to smoothies or fruit juices
  • Mix them into granola, yogurt, or cereal
  • Use them to add some extra crunch to a salad
  • Garnish any meal, like soups, chicken dishes, or pasta
  • Blend them with other ingredients; in a dip like pesto, or guacamole
  • Bake them into cookies and pieces of bread
  • Toast or roast them in any spice or seasoning for a healthy snack
Pumpkin seeds on bread
Pumpkin seeds on bread
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU
Pumpkin seeds in a bowl of fruits and yoghurt
Pumpkin seeds in a bowl of fruits and yoghurt
Image: thefoundationblog.com