Top 10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Nature is the best medicine. Any illness is an indication of being out of balance with nature. By the use of natural herbs, one can certainly keep the diseases at bay and also overcome many disorders of the body as natural medications act as permanent remedies and also supports in leading a balanced and healthy living. If we look at our surroundings, there are various common fruits which we consume in our daily lives and enjoys their taste too. In addition to their taste, these fruits are loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals. One such fruit is pumpkin which is enjoyed all over the world. It also has many health benefits too.
The fruits are eaten as a vegetable, used in soups or pies. The blossoms are also edible. Seeds are high in nutrients and can be eaten as raw, roasted or used to extract oil. The fruit contains seeds numerous in number, white or brown in color. The seeds are exalbuminous, cotyledon large and oily. After the skin is removed, the seeds have greenish color on the surface. The pumpkin seeds have been found to have various physiological actions and medicinal utilities. Seed kernels are rich in oil and protein. It contains considerable amounts of Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese and Calcium. Oil extracted from the seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids with linoleic acid and oleic acids as the major components. Pumpkin seeds kernel contains 16% palmitic acid and 11% stearic acid. The concentration of unsaturated fatty acids is 66% consisting of 13% oleic acid and 53% linoleic acid. Phytochemical and pharmacological studies on the pumpkin seeds show that these contain carbohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, phenolics and saponins. The anthelmintic activities exhibited by pumpkin seeds are probably due to the presence of tannin.
Pumpkins are the delicious and versatile seasonal treats. In addition to their taste, they have numerous health benefits too. They are the rich source of anti-oxidants as they are loaded with vitamins like- Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They are also the good source of fibers which help to maintain glucose level in the blood. Not only the pumpkin fruit but its seeds are also loaded with lots of nutrition. Pumpkin seeds are the rich source of protein, minerals, vitamins and tryptophan.
They are considered as trusted de-toxifying agents according to Ayurveda. Thus, pumpkin and its seeds are prescribed for removal of Ama(toxins) from the body. Ayurveda also prescribes its use in cleansing the bladder and the other adjoining organs of the body. Ayurveda also recommends pumpkin and its seeds as a tonic for strengthening the liver as it regulates its normal functioning and also supports the treatment of hepatitis, degenerated and other inflamed conditions of the liver thus it improves the digestion and metabolism by correcting the functions of the liver.
Pumpkin is a dicotyledonous vegetable that develops long vine-like stems with trifoliate leaves and edible, large and fleshy fruits. The plant can climb up to 5 meter. This fruit is eaten worldwide.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Scientific Name:Cucurbita pepo
- Family: Cucurbitaceae
- Common Name: Squash, Acorn, fig-leaf gourd, pumpkin, yellow summer squash etc.
- Taste- Bitter
- Qualities- Light, Dry
- Potency- Cold
- Undergoes pungent taste after digestion
- Effect on Tridosha- Balances Vata and Pitta
- Reduces poisonous effect.
Chemical Constituents: They are the amazing source of minerals. The major element found in pumpkin seeds is zinc. It is advisable to take pumpkin seed with its shell only as its shell is the major source of mineral zinc. It contains various anti-oxidants like- Vitamin E, phenolic anti-oxidants. It contains various varieties of Vitamin E in the form like- gamma-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, delta-tocopherol. Among these, alpha-tocomonoenol and gamma-tocopherol are the topics of research as they are unique in benefits as compared to other forms. Along with various forms of Vitamin E, it also contains the variety of phenolic oxidants.
These include- ferulic, hydroxybenzoic,vanillic, protocatechuic, coumaric, syringic acid. Pumpkin seeds also contain lignans. Other constituents are- Medioresinol, Pinoresinol, and Lariciresinol.
- They have shown to support bladder function and urinary flow by inhibiting excess of dihydroepi-androstenedione(DHEA) levels.
- They contain high tryptophan content so they help in alleviating anxiety and also improve sleep.
- They balance cholesterol levels and strengthen bones.
- The anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids present in pumpkin seeds relieve inflammation, especially in the joints.
- In various researches, it is indicated that pumpkin seed extracts have the ability to regulate insulin. Since seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, so can control the oxidative stress and this also leads to better metabolism and can save kidneys from damage due to diabetes.
- The phytonutrients present in the seeds help to make the body strong as these also possess anti-microbial activity so the body can fight bacteria and fungi more strongly.
- The pumpkin seeds extract are known for its quality to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia since ages because of the presence of phytosterols such as- sitostanol, avenasterol, and beta-sitosterol.
- Because of the presence of mineral magnesium, it acts as a heart tonic or natural relaxant for the heart.
- It contains an aromatic amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin in the body which induces sleep.
- Due to the presence of some anti-oxidants, it can help in lowering the risk of cancer. The one of the causative reason of cancer is the oxidative stress. Pumpkin seeds prevent oxidative stress.
Other health benefits of Pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols that have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
They are also a good source of Vitamin K thus helps in blood clotting.
- Being high in zinc, they prevent osteoporosis.
- According to the study, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones formation.
- Pumpkin seeds reduce inflammation and arthritis pain without the side-effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- They are also used in the natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites because of the presence of tannins.
- So, just don't throw away the pumpkin seeds. Utilize them for the various health benefits as they are rich in various minerals and also possesses anti-oxidant properties. Thus, these tiny looking seeds possess a lot of health benefits.
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