Pumpkin seeds, also referred to as pepitas are edible seeds known for their various health benefits due to the abundant presence of antioxidants, vit E, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids.
Good quality pumpkin seeds are obtained on full maturity of the pumpkin fruit. Seeds are present in the central hollow cavity of the pumpkin fruit. The seeds are encased in a yellow-white husk, also known as shell.
There are few varieties of pumpkins which produce seeds without shells. These seeds have a sweet, nutty flavour and are malleable and chewy in texture. Pumpkin seeds are used to derive pumpkin seed oil. They are available as roasted or unroasted, shelled or unshelled.
Nutritional facts of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of calcium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, magnesium, omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants. They are a good source of amino acid such as tryptophan and glutamate.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 gm of pumpkin seed, contains 127 calories, 5 mg of proteins, 15 gm of carbohydrates, 21.4 gm of fat, 0.9 gm of iron, 20 mg of calcium, 90.6 mg of magnesium, and 20.5 mg of sodium.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
The presence of serotonin in pumpkin seeds promotes sleep. Pumpkin seeds contain high quantity of Tryptophan, an amino acid which converts into serotonin ensuring, good sleep. Magnesium regulates the normal sleep regulation, the magnesium content of pumpkin seeds tackles insomnia.
Controls blood sugar
1. The high content of plant protein and low carbohydrate content of pumpkin seeds protects against type 2 diabetes, reduces blood sugar, or decreases its complications.
2. The magnesium content of pumpkin seeds enhances insulin secretion and reduces insulin sensitivity.
Enhances sperm quality
1. The zinc content of the seeds helps support male fertility, as decreased levels of zinc leads to reduced sperm quality.
2. The presence of high antioxidants and other nutrients in pumpkin seeds contribute to healthy levels of testosterone.
Enhances hair growth
The cucurbitin and vitamin C content of pumpkin seeds helps in hair growth. The presence of few other micronutrients in pumpkin seeds aids in enhancing the texture of the hair and makes it strong.
Pumpkin seeds are little powerhouses of nutrients and health benefits due to the abundant presence of antioxidants, vit E, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids.
Other possible benefits of Pumpkin Seeds…
Pepitas produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as boosts bone health, benefits the heart, helps strengthen the immune system, treats benign prostatic hyperplasia, decreases the risk of osteoporosis, promotes liver health, decreases the risk of heart diseases.
Treats urinary disorders in men and women, reduces arthritis pain, builds immunity, prevents prostrate problems, reduces cholesterol levels, decreases blood pressure, maintains a healthy weight, enhances digestive health, reduces the risk to prostate cancer, protects the skin from ultraviolet rays, beneficial effects on sexual health status, reduces risk of certain cancers, improves prostate and bladder health, and helps postmenopausal women.
How to use Pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds can be consumed either raw or roasted. They can be in a variety of ways, some of them are as follows
- As a snack.
- In baking.
- As a salad dressing.
- Whipped into smoothies.
- Added to hot or cold cereal.
- Added to healthy sautéed vegetables.
- Added to oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.
- As a garnish for soups, salads, cooked veggies, tacos, oats, etc.
How to prepare tomato & carrot salad?
Take 600 gm of mixed tomatoes such as red and yellow cherry, plum and medium vine. Chop the large tomatoes and halve the cherry ones.
Take 2 medium carrots, a bunch of spring onions, 1 red chilli and 25 gm pumpkin seeds; toss all of them together.
Take 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and mix it with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and a black pepper.
Pour all of them over the tomatoes and toss it together.