What Are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are small but mighty. They are also called Pepitas and are native to America. They were first discovered in Mexican caves that date back 7000 B.C. They were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers and now they are cultivated on every continent. China is the major producer of Pumpkin seeds along with Russia the Ukraine USA and India.
How Are Pumpkin Seeds Used?
Pumpkin seeds are scientifically known as Cucurbita and belong to the family Cucurbitaceae also contains cucumbers and melons. There are forty-five different varieties, and five of them are grown commercially. Each pumpkin can contains 500 seeds, and each pumpkin can takes 90 to 120 days to grow. Pumpkin seeds are often eaten roasted. Their flowers are also edible.
These white flat seeds are filled with nutrients. They are eaten after removing the outer cover. Inside the Greenish seeds are loaded with minerals, vitamins, proteins, fiber, and fats. They contain mono and polyunsaturated fats that are good fats. Vitamin K, C, E, and B (1-9) and minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous are also present.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds?
Being rich in various nutrients pumpkin seeds are excellent for improving health. below we have listed some health benefits of pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium and calcium that are used in bone formation and bone mineralization. Eating pumpkin seeds is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women. It also increases bone density.
Liver and heart health:
Pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acids, and fiber. The fiber present in pumpkin seeds reduces the cholesterol in the body and improves heart health while the Omega 3 fatty acid reduces the risk of thrombosis which leads to heart attacks and strokes. Pumpkin seeds contain sterols which reduce the level of LDL known as bad cholesterol in the body. The combination of nutrients present in pumpkin seeds also has a protective function for liver cells.
Gut health and weight loss:
The fiber present in the pumpkin seed not only reduces weight but also helps in improving gut health. Fiber and protein present in the pumpkin seed keep us full for a longer period thus reducing food intake which in turn helps in weight loss.
Pumpkin seeds act as immunity boosters because they contain vitamins E, C, and Zinc. Vitamin E enhances our immune response which helps our body fight against infections. Zinc protects our body against pathogen infections and allergies thus it helps the vitamin E in protecting the body against various infections. Zinc also plays an important role during pregnancy it helps protects the baby. Doctors recommend eating zinc-containing foods during pregnancy.
Improves hair and skin health:
Pumpkin seeds strengthen our hair and prevent hair fall. It also makes them soft and shiny. Pumpkin seeds prevent aging by making our skin wrinkle-free and soft. It reduces acne outbreaks by preventing infection.
What Makes Pumpkin Seeds An Anticancer Food?
Eating pumpkin seeds may reduce the risk of breast, lung, stomach, and prostate cancer. According to a recent study, eating pumpkins can lead to reduced chances of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
Some other studies also suggested its role in preventing the spread and treating breast cancer. Pumpkins are a good source of zinc which is associated with reduced prostate cancer risk.
Test-tube studies showed that pumpkin seeds extract slowed down prostate cancer cell growth. Pumpkin seed oil is also effective in treating BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants and carotenoids which protect the body against free radical damage. Free radicals damage the DNA of cells which eventually leads to cancer. By eliminating free radicals pumpkin seeds may reduce the risk of cancer in every organ of the body.