Posted on Apr 27, 2020, 8 p.m.
Pumpkins get used a lot during the holiday season from pies, to teas, lattes, and decorations. The seeds make a great snack, but unfortunately they tend to be discarded most of the time; despite their size the seeds are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and essential nutrients including protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that can help to support cardiovascular health.
Pumpkin seeds, like many other seeds, are considered to be heart healthy due to the effects on cardiometabolic factors like blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Their high antioxidant content can help to ease constricted blood vessels that are caused by cholesterol buildup, and this helps to minimize the risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke.
Pumpkin seeds are fully loaded with essential micronutrients like magnesium and zinc that also have protective effects against hypertension. Their copper content can help to increase red blood cell count which aids blood circulation, and allows the body to absorb iron more efficiently which helps to minimize the risk of anemia.
Due to the potent antioxidant properties of the omega-3 fatty acids regular consumption of these seeds can help to reduce high blood sugar levels and prevent fluctuation after meals. Thus consuming pumpkin seeds on a regular basis has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The high fiber content also inhibits absorption of excess glucose in the gut, and the high quality proteins help to boost metabolism and allows the body to burn fat more efficiently helping to reduce the risk of both type 2 diabetes and obesity.
A study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications suggests that pumpkin seeds helped to prevent diabetic complications; revealing that these seeds helped to lower the level of plasma enzymes caused by liver lesions in rats, which is a side effect of type 2 diabetes.
Despite their size these seeds make a healthy calorie dense snack that can provide essential vitamins and minerals that rivals those of most meat and plant based sources of proteins, fiber and important micronutrients.
Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan which is an amino acid that promotes sleep, in addition to the rich magnesium content that is typically associated with better sleep quality, meaning that consuming pumpkin seeds may help to improve sleep quality.
Pumpkin seeds/seed oil have been used in traditional medicines to help strengthen bladder tissue, prevent bacterial infections, and to help relieve symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia which is a condition marked by enlarged prostate glands and loss of bladder control.
The rich anti-aging antioxidant content works to neutralize free radicals that can cause cellular damage and can lead to the development of cancer over time. Antioxidants can help to inhibit the growth of tumors and induce programmed cell death in certain cancers, in particular pumpkin seeds may help to protect against breast, lung, and colon cancers.
These tiny seeds are highly nutritious and offer a variety of health benefits, consuming pumpkin seeds on a regular basis appears to help improve heart health, prevent nutritional deficiencies and lower the risk of certain cancers which make pumpkin seeds a worthy healthy addition to any diet.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.