Pumpkin seeds also called as pepitas have amazing health benefits and are packed full of nutrition. They have wide uses from aiding weight loss, improving our hair and skin to aiding prostate health in men.
The only difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas is pepitas refers to the shelled pumpkin seeds. In India we get the whole pumpkin seeds easily.
Few years back, my co-sister got me a bag of trail mix in which pumpkin seeds were the main ingredient. I just loved it to the core and I continue having them till today.
Pumpkin Seeds Description:
Pumpkin seeds are usually flat, oval and dark green color seeds. Usually the seeds are enclosed in an outer shell but some varieties come without the shell.
All the pumpkin seeds we consume come from Cucurbitaceae family and among them the common sources are Cucurbita Pepo, Cucurbita Maxima, Cucurbita Mixta and Cucurbita Moschata. Pumpkin seeds have a wonderful nutty taste that I completely love.
We get both raw pumpkin seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds in the markets. I would suggest buying the raw seeds but if you don’t like the taste of raw pumpkin seeds then try the roasted seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds Common Names:
Pumpkin seeds are called Pepitas in Spanish, Kaddu Ke Beej in Hindi, Poosani Vithai in Tamil, Gummadi Ginjalu in Telugu, Kumbalakai Bijagalu in Kannada, Mathanga Kuru in Malayalam, Bhoplala Biya in Marathi and Kumror Beej in Bengali.
Pumpkin Seeds Native:
Pumpkin seeds are native to America, it is commonly found in North America, Central and South America and it’s especially widely used in Mexico. The word Pepita is Spanish word which means “little seeds of squash”.
There is evidence dating back it’s usage 8000 to 10000 years ago. Now pumpkin seeds are widely consumed all over the world and China is the major producer of pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition:
Pumpkin seeds when dried contains around 58.8 % protein and 30 % fat. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus molybdenum, selenium, copper, chromium and low amounts of iron and calcium.
It is rich in vitamins like vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin E. It is also rich in fiber (1.94 grams per 32 grams of seeds) and they have around 180 calories. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the best source of omega 6 fatty acids.
Pumpkin Seeds Traditional Uses:
Traditionally pumpkin seeds were used for getting rid of intestinal parasites and for improving prostate health. Both these traditional uses have been proven to be true.
Pumpkin seeds indeed have anti parasitic properties and you can read the study that proves it here.
How To Buy, Select & Store?
Always buy raw organic pumpkin seeds and store them in the refrigerator. Look for pumpkin seeds that are not broken and ones that does not have additives like salt or oil.
If the raw pumpkin seeds you have bought are not crispy, you can sundry them covered with a thin mesh, let cool completely and store in an airtight box in the fridge.
How To Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
I love to munch on pumpkin seeds as it is but there are different ways you can enjoy them. You can add them to smoothies along with your favorite fruit and milk, if you are vegan just use plant based milk.
You can also add pumpkin seeds to salads and you can also add them to trail mix, pumpkin seed is the first ingredient I will pick for my trail mix.
Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses:
1. For Good Sleep:
Pumpkin seeds are very rich in magnesium and tryptophan. We all know that magnesium is very important for getting good night’s sleep and magnesium deficiency is more common than we think.
Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly will take care of that easily. Also tryptophan is easily converted into serotonin, the feel good hormone that is responsible for relaxation and good sleep.
2. Improves Immunity:
Pumpkin seeds helps improve immunity as it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like zinc which is very very essential for keeping our health in peak order.
Also many of us are deficient in zinc without even realizing it, if you are falling ill often or feel tired most of the time, consider raking pumpkin seeds on a regular basis.
3. For Treating Diabetes:
Pumpkin seeds improves insulin regulation and people who are suffering from diabetes will greatly benefit consuming pumpkin seeds on a daily basis.
I would suggest consuming pumpkin seeds in between meals, it will greatly prevent in between hunger pangs and will keep the blood sugar levels stable. You can read the study that proves it here.
4. For Cardiovascular Health:
Pumpkin seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and magnesium both which are very essential for heart health.
Consuming food high in alpha-linolenic acid and magnesium have been proven to improve heart health and also lower the risk of coronary heart diseases.
5. For Preventing Bladder Stones:
Another interesting use of pumpkin seeds is it’s ability to prevent bladder stones. A study done in Thailand on 20 boy aged 2 to 7 years has proven that consuming pumpkin seeds lowered the calcium oxalate crystal occurrence.
The best part is the longer the duration of pumpkin seed consumption the better the results were, you can read the study here. If you are prone to bladder stone, I would highly suggest consuming pumpkin seeds on a daily basis.
6. Pumpkin Seeds For Men:
pumpkin seeds are very good for men too and they have been consumed from ancient times for improving the prostate health. Zinc is very essential for prostate health.
Since pumpkin seeds are one of the riches source of zinc, consuming it regularly will prevent the incidences of prostate cancer and will improve prostate health.
7. For Treating Arthritis:
Both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are great for bone health and is great for people suffering from arthritis as they help reduce the inflammation very effectively.
A study done on rats have proved pumpkin seed to be very effective equal to that of prescription anti-inflammatory medicine but without any of it’s side effects! You can read the study here.
7. For Weight Loss:
Pumpkin seeds are very good for including in a weight loss diet as it keeps one fuller for long periods of time.
Just have a small amount of raw pumpkin seeds in between meals and it will keep you satiated for a long time.
It will also prevent you from reaching out for fattening snacks. But make sure to consume raw pumpkin seeds instead of roasted or salted pumpkin seeds for best results.
8. For Women:
Pumpkin seeds have wonderful benefits for women. It improves bone health thereby preventing osteoporosis and it also has a protecting effect.
The phytoestrogen isolated from pumpkin seeds have been proven to prevent breast cancer. Pumpkin seeds are also great for post menopausal women as it increased the HDL level, you can read about it here.
9. For Hair Growth:
Pumpkin seeds are great for hair growth as it is rich in zinc, iron, protein and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly will help prevent hair loss and will leaves your hair shiny and soft.
You can also apply pumpkin seed oil externally too, it will greatly prevent scalp infections and will strengthen the hair roots.
Pumpkin seed oil is also a natural DHT blocker, the hormone that causes baldness so consuming pumpkin seeds will definitely help hair growth.
10. For Amazing Skin:
Pumpkin seeds are amazing for skin too. Since pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin A, consuming it often will help faster wound healing.
Since it is rich in antioxidants, it will greatly prevent premature ageing of the skin. If you are suffering from acne, I would highly suggest consuming pumpkin seeds as it reduces the inflammation and helps the skin heal faster.
You can also grind the pumpkin seeds and mix it along with milk and use it as a face scrub weekly twice….