Let’s be honest – most of us crave a snack every once in a while. Instead of reaching for a candy bar in between meals, try keeping a healthy snack handy. Not only do pumpkin seeds make a crunchy and satisfying treat, they also provide some amazing health benefits for the body!
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep.
2.Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Pumpkin seeds, along with other nuts and seeds, are a healthy source of plant-based omega-3’s. Getting an adequate amount of Omega-3’s in your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease and give your immune system a healthy boost.
Pumpkin seeds may be especially beneficial in individuals who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds can help improve insulin regulation in the body to prevent diabetic complication by decreasing oxidative stress.
Research has shown that pumpkin seed oil provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. One study found that pumpkin seed oil performed just as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, without the dangerous side effects.
5.Zinc for Immune Support
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2-mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
Zinc deficiency is associated with increased illness, chronic fatigue, depression and acne, among other health issues.
6.Magnesium for Heart Health
Half a cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly the full recommended daily amount of magnesium. Magnesium is needed for a wide range of functions in the body, including proper bone and tooth formation, DNA and RNA synthesis and the pumping of the heart. Proper magnesium intake benefits blood pressure to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke.
7.Heart and Liver Health
Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats, dietary fiber and antioxidants, all of which can provide major benefits for heart and liver health. A healthy intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect against both liver disease and heart failure. Antioxidants also play a role in keeping the heart and liver healthy and strong.
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.