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Awesome Healing Properties Of The Humble Pumpkin Seed
Pumpkins, probably along with the love for their seeds, are native to the Americas, and a variety of species are found across North, South, and Central America. Today, China produces more pumpkins and seeds than any other country, while in the United States, the state of Illinois is the largest producer.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, small, and mostly dark green in color. They have a chewy texture, and a slightly sweet, nutty flavour, and can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Remarkable healing properties of pumpkin seeds
Research has shown that pumpkin seeds, long-known for its nutrient content, also pack a powerful punch of healing and health benefits. Here is a list of 8 of the major health benefits and nutrients in pumpkin seeds.
- The pumpkin seed is one of the best natural sources of magnesium, which is necessary for more than 600 chemical reactions in the body. A good supply of magnesium is needed to control blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote the development of healthy bones.
- Another benefit of magnesium found in pumpkin seeds is its ability to lower blood sugar levels, which is of enormous benefit for people with type-2 diabetes struggling with their levels.
- Pumpkin seeds are extremely high in fiber which can provide good digestive health. Fiber may also help to control obesity by keeping the colon clean of toxic build-up from undigested foods.
- Pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc which is associated with good sperm quality. Low levels may lead to an increased risk of infertility. Zinc also helps to repair damage from chemotherapy and autoimmune diseases.
- Lignans is a very important compound present in pumpkin seeds and has the ability to block estrogen, especially when there is estrogen dominance. Research has shown that lignans help to protect against hormone-related cancers which are estrogen-sensitive. These include breast, uterus, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
- Another natural plant compound found in pumpkin seeds is known as phytosterols. This is structurally the same as the cholesterol found in the body, and successfully competes with unhealthy cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. The natural phytosterols help to keep bad cholesterol low and actually increase good cholesterol (HDL). This is a benefit to heart and overall cardiovascular system health.
- There are also studies which suggest that pumpkin seeds can help treat symptoms of an overactive bladder. This is mainly thanks to the high levels of magnesium which may reduce the spontaneous muscle contractions that lead to a sudden need to urinate that can also result in a certain degree of incontinence.
- Pumpkin seeds are the only seeds which are alkaline-forming, and as the Western diet is so very acidic, consuming the seeds can help keep the body’s pH levels stable and correct.
These are just some of the main medical benefits of the humble pumpkin seed which appear to be a tremendous benefit to good health in general.
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How to add pumpkin seeds into your diet
This is not difficult to do since they are readily available in stores and in pre-packaged containers or in bins for bulk-buying.
Seeds in pre-packaged containers come in various forms such as raw and shelled, raw and unshelled, roasted and shelled, or roasted and unshelled.
Raw seeds can also be purchased in bulk from in-store bin containers. However, make sure that the seeds are fresh, and there is no sign of moisture or mustiness. If possible, buy organic raw seeds, and roast them yourself. It is recommended that you roast the seeds on a baking sheet for no longer than 15 to 20 minutes to avoid damage to the essential fats in the pumpkin seeds. The oven temperature must not be above 170 degrees fahrenheit or 75 degrees celsius.
By roasting the seeds yourself, you are able to control the roasting time and temperature because studies have shown that at a higher temperature or longer roasting time can result in changes in the nutritional values of the pumpkin seeds.
Always store unused seeds in an airtight container in the fridge where they will remain fresh for up to 2 months.
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Some ways to enjoy eating pumpkin seeds
- Grind seeds with some fresh herbs and add some olive oil for a tasty salad dressing.
- Sprinkle ground seeds on cooked vegetables, and add to stews and casseroles.
- Chopped roasted seeds added to breakfast cereals adds a nutty flavor to the taste.
- You can add pumpkin seeds to your cookie or muesli recipes to ramp up the fiber content.
- Ground pumpkin seeds incorporated into your burger mixture, whether it be vegetable, beef, chicken or turkey, is another delicious option.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds are also ideal for a healthy snack to pep up your day between meals.
There are many other ways of enjoying pumpkin seeds, as they can be added to several food menu preparations, as well as in cake and muffin mixtures. It is, of course, up to the individual person to be innovative and creative.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has rated pumpkin seeds very high on the list of natural ways to get mineral support. Research also found them to be an excellent source of other minerals, such as zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and iron.
READ ALSO: The Healing Powers Of Black Seeds
The WHO also states that a further benefit of pumpkin seeds is the high antioxidant content which combats the free radicals doing harm in the body.
It is obvious to say, that pumpkin seeds provide all-round good general health and well-being with no side effects.