Pumpkin seeds, popularly known by their Spanish name, “pepita,” are edible, white seeds that have a greenish inside. They are often pressed for their oil, although they can also be consumed as a snack either when raw or lightly roasted. They can also be used in various meat dishes, salads, and even pastas.
Like many vegetable seeds, pumpkin seeds are renowned for their health benefits. Indeed, the nutritional value of these seeds far exceeds their small size.
List of Health Benefits
Rich in antioxidants – Pumpkin seeds are loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin E, delta-tocopherol, gamma-tocomonoenol, zinc, manganese, coumaric, caffeic, vanillic, and lignans. Unlike most other foods, which are known for having just one or two antioxidants types, pumpkin seeds are loaded with more than five types of antioxidants that all work in tandem together for superior bodily health, as well as protection against free radicals.
Prevents osteoporosis – Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, an important mineral that guards the body against osteoporosis, a condition whereby the bones become particularly vulnerable to fractures. Since osteoporosis is a condition that affects almost anyone as they age, consuming pumpkin seeds is a great way for a young person to get a head start in avoiding age-based bone degeneration.
Rich in magnesium – Just half a cup of pumpkin seeds provides a person with approximately 95 percent of their daily magnesium requirement. Many people do not get the recommended dosage of magnesium in their daily diet, since most mainstream foods are very low in magnesium levels. Pumpkin seeds can rectify that deficiency.
Reduces cholesterol – Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of phytosterols, a compound that has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body, thereby producing superior heart health.
Great for the prostate – A diet rich in pumpkin seeds helps us avoid prostate cancer, one of the most common types of cancer in today’s world, since the fatty acids present the pumpkin have the ability to reduce the size of the prostate and prevent cancerous tumors from growing in it. Since prostate cancer usually sets in after the age of 50, younger men in particular have good reason to eat more pumpkin seeds.
High in protein – One hundred grams of pumpkin seeds contain a whopping 27 grams of protein, an impressively high amount. Please bear in mind, however, that one hundred grams of pumpkin seeds also contains a sizable 570 calories (which may either be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the person and his or her activity levels).
Including More Pumpkin Seeds in Your Diet
Although most people toast or roast pumpkin seeds before consuming them, they must understand that even light roasting can kill several of the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are found in the seeds. Therefore, we recommended eating them raw when possible, either on their own or by sprinkling them on salads and pasta dishes.