Pumpkin seeds have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are extremely tasty and have innumerable benefits. They are popular in salads, in granola, eaten by themselves as a snack, and used as garnishes for a very wide range of dishes. Most people love eating them, and you will boost your health by doing so too!
Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of vitamin E. This promotes healthy, glowing skin, and protects your face and other areas from the ageing effects of free radicals found in coffee, as well as many other substances eaten or found in the environment.
Trytophan is found in pumpkin seeds. This substance is a natural antidepressant. While you’d have to consume vast amounts of pumpkin seeds to gain the level of trytophan found in antidepressant medication, it might be worth grabbing a packet the next time you feel down – if nothing else, the taste will cheer you up!
If you have trouble finding enough natural iron in your diet, then you may be interested to know that pumpkin seeds are packed with this essential mineral. This is particularly good news for vegeterians and vegans, and also women who suffer from anaemia.Pumpkin seeds are packed with phytosterols, which are useful for guarding against many diseases as they reduce ‘bad’ forms of cholesterols and boost your body’s supply of healthy oils. Phytosterols reduce your risk of developing heart disease and several forms of cancer – pumpkin seeds, consumed in moderation, can increase your body’s natural resistance to these serious conditions.
However, pumpkin seeds have some specific properties that can help men, too. Many men over fifty have an enlarged prostate gland, which can cause various medical problems. Chemicals that naturally occur in pumpkin seeds appear to reduce the risk of developing this problem, also known as benign prostratic hypertrophy. At the moment, science has not worked out exactly how pumpkin seeds are beneficial to the condition, but it has been established that a high level of consumption of the minerals found in pumpkin seeds has an inverse effect on the risk of developing an enlarged prostate.
Pumpkin seeds are good for men in other ways,. They contain a high level of zinc. This is often recommended as a supplement for men who are trying to concieve, as it contributes towards the development and maintenance of healthy sperm. It is also linked to reducing the risk of fractures in older men.
Pumpkin seeds are very high in energy, and contain around five hundred calories per hundred grams. This is not good news if you are on a diet – although this does not mean that you should not eat any pumpkin seeds, but that you should carefully monitor the amount you consume so you gain the benefits without adding to your waistline. However, the high calorie content is helpful to walkers, cyclists and other athletes or outdoorsy types who need food that packs a high amount of calories into a small amount of weight and space. The next time you go hillwalking, fishing or mountain biking, pack some pumpkin seeds instead of your usual chocolate bar – it’s a far healthier snack.
Ready-to-eat pumpkin seeds can be found in supermarkets, health food shops and, increasingly, corner shops and newsagents. Pre-packaged seeds can contain a lot of additives, however, so check the packet before you buy. Alternatively, you can roast pumpkin seeds that are left over from making a Halloween lantern, pumpkin pie, or numerous other dishes that require pumpkin flesh.