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What Are The Health Benefits Of Pumpkins?
3. Eating Pumpkin Seeds for a Healthy Heart
Seeds and nuts are a rich source of phytosterols. These plant-based chemicals have been proven to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Eating pumpkin seeds are one way to get more phytosterols in your diet and reduce your cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of zinc which is used by the body to produce melanin, an eye protecting pigment. Zinc also helps people with age-related macular degeneration and can help to reduce the loss of vision.
4. Lowering your Risk of Cancer
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that fights against cancer-causing free radicals. According to the National Cancer Institute, it may play a role in cancer prevention. Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene just like sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash. The NIH says that food sources of beta-carotene can be used much more easily by the body and work better than supplements.
In addition, the plant sterols contained in pumpkins have also been shown to fight off certain types of cancers. Pumpkin seeds also contain phytoestrogens. This plant compound mimics the hormone estrogen. According to one study, phytoestrogens can help prevent breast cancer.
5. Improving Your Moods
Did you know that a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds can improve your mood? Rich in the amino acid tryptophan (infamous for inducing the post-Thanksgiving meal nap), pumpkin seeds can help keep your outlook bright. Although most experts agree that overeating is what makes people feel tired on Thanksgiving, tryptophan is still important.
Tryptophan is a vital ingredient in the production of serotonin, a chemical in the body that regulates mood. Since the human body cannot produce tryptophan on its own, you must get it from the foods you eat to make serotonin. So, if you’re having trouble keeping your spirits up, try some pumpkin seeds.
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