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Pumpkin Seeds – Nature’s Forgotten Superfood

Benefits of pumpkin seeds including blood pressure, urinary health, immunity, Testosterone, and lots more

by Cat Ebeling
co-author of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning Kitchen & The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging

One of my favorite salty, crunchy, nutty snacks is pumpkin seeds. I especially love these because they are great if you happen to have a peanut or nut allergy. Pumpkin seeds are also powerhouse snacks full of amazing nutrition that you cannot get elsewhere. They contain great stuff like magnesium, zinc, copper, protein, trytophan, and more. They also contain some very healthy fats and antioxidants, so they fill you up with low-glycemic protein, fiber, and add a powerful nutritional punch as well. And, well this is a great time of year to get some freshly made pumpkin seeds—my favorite!

Rich in Magnesium:

Magnesium is vital to about 300 or more of your body functions, and most of us are short on this incredible nutrient. Magnesium helps to create ATP, which are the energy molecules in your body, it helps to make RNA and DNA, the heart of each of your cells, regulates your heart beat, helps you sleep and relax, creates healthy bones, lowers your blood pressure and keeps you regular. Since about 80% of the population is in need of more magnesium and if you are an athlete, drink alcohol, take blood pressure medicine, need help maintaining your blood sugar, you need even more.

Great Source of Tryptophan:

Tryptophan is a substance in foods that is the raw material for our bodies to make serotonin, the the ‘feel good’ brain neurotransmitter. Serotonin not only helps with depression but it also alleviates anxiety. In fact, most anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs work to preserve serotonin as it is vital to feelings of well-being. Studies have been shown that foods containing tryptophan are definitely helpful in banishing anxiety and depression.

Tryptophan also helps to promote healthy sleep. Melatonin combined with serotonin help to create a restful, relaxing sleep and tryptophan provides the raw materials for both of these desired brain neurotransmitters. Try a handful or two of pumpkin seeds combined with some cherries for a bedtime snack, and you will sleep like a baby and wake rested!

Zinc, Immunity, Testosterone, etc:

Pumpkin seeds also contain a hefty supply of zinc, which not only beefs up your immune system and helps you fight off colds and flu, but also serves as an important nutrient for brain and mood.

Zinc also helps with healthy cell growth and division and faster healing of wounds. Diabetics and overweight individuals should also take note as it helps to regulate blood sugar, and appetite.

And last but not least, zinc is vital to males for healthy sperm and testosterone supply. Pumpkin seeds have been associated with virility for many many years and zinc is also beneficial for prostate health and helps prevent BPH, or enlarged prostate issues.

Men with BPH often suffer from urinary frequency as it is often difficult to empty the bladder with an enlarged prostate. A diet high in pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil can offer dramatic relief from the urinary issues associated with BPH. Studies show a 40% increase in urinary flow and a 30% reduction in urinary frequency compared to a placebo.

Zinc deficiencies are common from crops that are grown in nutrient-depleted soil, vegetarian diets—especially those who eat a lot of soy foods, and those who eat highly processed starchy foods like grains and beans.

Nuts and seeds are often one of the best ways to get plant-based omega 3 fatty acids in the form of ALA. Many vegetarians and vegans depend on this method for omega 3 fats, however it does take quite a lot of alpha-linolenic acid to convert to the usable EPA and DHA that we need, so it is advisable to get some omega 3 fats from animals or fish.

Pumpkin seed oil is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects that increase HDL (good cholesterol), lower the bad LDL and overall cholesterol, fight heart disease, and decrease blood pressure, as well as helping arthritis.

Pumpkin seeds offer a tasty and powerful addition to your diet, and you don’t have to wait until Halloween to eat them. But they are best and at their most nutritious eaten raw. Pumpkin seeds should be eaten organic if possible. The nutrients are the most available if they are sprouted or soaked which helps to remove the natural phytic acid in them that can block nutrient absorption.  If you try to dry your own, it’s a good amount of work to take the shells off of them, so we choose to purchase pre-shelled raw pumpkin seeds such as these at ThriveMarket.

Try throwing a handful of pumpkin seeds into your next smoothie, or adding them to a salad, in your oatmeal or yogurt. They are also great in soups, stews and even meatloaf or cookies.

Here’s another interesting article on pumpkin seeds:

Prevent diabetes and 10 more reasons to eat pumpkin seeds

References:

Mercola, J. (September 2013). 9 health benefits of pumpkin seeds. Retrieved from
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx
Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study Craig Hudson,ab Susan Hudson,b Joan MacKenziec  October 2007
Dr Sighi Drassinower, “Pumpkin Seed Oil, a remedy for BPH”, www.drsighi.com/php/showatricles.php?nid=21&type=, 30-Nov-2008
Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B, “A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. German BPH-Phyto Study group.”,  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9313662?dopt=Abstract , 1997 Sep, PMID: 9313662 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE], Department of Urology, Allgemeines Krankenhaus Celle, Academic Hospital, Germany

About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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11 comments

  1. My comment got lost in here if it can be found it will lovely.
    In a nutshell what I said was my health is not very good I
    do it ginger but you have opened my eyes wider now I am
    going to eat it with good reasons
    Recipes and cocktails bring them on I am ready to try them.
    Thank You.

  2. This is wonderful information and a great source. Thank u

  3. Actually, I have been searching for the most effective ways of listing fat.

  4. Thanks for the info on pumpkin seeds! On sleepless nights I take camomile tea and pumpkin seeds, and as you said, I go back to sleep like a baby. I had discovered it myself and when It worked, I figured there probably is something in the seeds which help, since it worked better than camomille tea alone. I was right! Thank you for giving me that specific proof of the contents of pumpkin seeds.

    • Remember Janice, that Ryvita make a Rye Crisp Bread…with Pumpkin seeds and Oats…Very nice too…Regards Terry Snackes.

  5. Do you have w recipe on how to cook pumpkins n seeds in the shell?

  6. How do you cook pumpkin seeds in there shell?

  7. May I know how to eat the seeds as your testimonial as above , should we drying the seeds and blender it become the pumpkim seeds powder there we drink with water and how long we can see the results.

    Kindly advice due to I sincerely need the advise , My Belly problem more than 20 years already and I always
    feel tiredness at my heart and my high blood got litter higher than normal rate.

  8. When I bake pumpkin (smaller varieties like jap) I extract the seeds and roast them under the griller with a sprinkling of soy sauce over them. It makes them crisp and slightly salty. kids will eat them.

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