(Natural News) Pumpkin seeds might look small, but they’re packed with nutritional benefits, such as zinc, iron and magnesium. While these seeds are readily available in stores, you can also harvest them fresh – especially after Halloween.
More than its nutritional value, however, pumpkin seeds can give you the following health benefits.
1. Improved sleep
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of an essential amino acid called tryptophan. The body converts this compound into a B-vitamin called niacin. The vitamin, in turn, is converted into a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is crucial to maintaining the sleep/wake cycle and regulating melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin has a key role in sleep by regulating a person’s body clock.
The body can not produce essential amino acids, so you have to consume food or drinks that have them. Eating one gram of tryptophan – around a cup of pumpkin seeds – every day may help improve sleep quality.
2. Better hair growth
Korean researchers found that pumpkin seed oil may promote hair growth among men with androgenetic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness. They conducted a randomized, double-blind study where 76 men received either a placebo or a pumpkin seed oil capsule. After 24 weeks of treatment, they found that participants who took pumpkin seed oil had more hair growth than those who took a placebo. The average hair count in the former group increased by 40 percent compared to the latter’s 10 percent.
If you’re interested in trying out pumpkin seed oil for treating hair loss, make sure to consult with a healthcare professional beforehand.
3. Antioxidant activity
Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants, including magnesium, vitamins E and K, as well as other B-vitamins. These reduce inflammation and prevent the onset of chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants also fend off premature aging and its symptoms like memory loss.
4. Beneficial for men
Several studies have found that pumpkin seeds treat a myriad of health problems for men. In one study, researchers found that pumpkin seed oil may help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This refers to uncomfortable and frequent urination, which usually appears as men grow older.
In addition, eating pumpkin seeds, which are packed with zinc, may help improve sperm quality. Men need zinc to ensure healthy sperm production and quality, since previous research has found that not having enough zinc can adversely affect male fertility.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with fiber and are low in calories. Fiber helps a person feel full longer and may help reduce cravings throughout the day. It improves digestive health and helps stabilize blood glucose levels. Adding pumpkin seeds can be convenient and useful for people hoping to lose weight. Fiber also helps prevent the onset of various health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and constipation.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of fiber is 38 grams for males and 25 grams for females every day. Eating one ounce of pumpkin seeds covers 20 percent of the RDI.
6. Reduced breast cancer risk
A German study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that consuming foods rich in dietary lignans may help reduce the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. These foods include pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Another study conducted in vitro revealed that applying pumpkin seed extract to breast cancer cells may slow down tumor growth. (Related: Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to eat pumpkin seeds: Enjoy their anti-cancer properties and other health benefits year-round.)
Despite their small size, pumpkin seeds have a wide range of health benefits for all ages and sexes. Learn more about other seeds and reasons why they should be added to your diet at Superfoods.news.