Pumpkins are the ultimate in autumnal fruits and October is the month to be making the most of them. Whether you enjoy and cook with them every year or you usually cast your pumpkin innards aside after carving them up for Halloween, you may be missing the secret superfood that lies within them!
Pumpkin seeds are a potent source of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and even fats and their incredible health benefits have amazed scientists who have compared their medicinal value to prescription medications. The recipes for making the most of your pumpkin seeds are endless, so however you choose to enjoy them you’ll be giving your body a major health boost.
Check out just ten of their amazing health benefits:
1. They are high in lots of minerals including Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Manganese, Potassium, Iron and Copper. All of these contribute to immunity, heart health and bone health. A handful of pumpkin seeds each day can provide up to 75% of your RDA!
2. They are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
3. They have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkin seeds have been shown to be as powerful as some arthritis drugs in treating inflammation.
4. They are rich in fibre. Regular fiber intake helps to protect the body against stroke and heart disease whilst also assisting in healthy digestion and weight loss.
5. They promote good sleep and reduce symptoms of depression. Rich in mood boosting amino acid L-tryptophan and stress reducing pantothentic acid, pumpkin seeds are a shown to promote a restful sleep when taken a few hours before bedtime and to improve general mood when taken regularly.
6. They reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Not only do they boost HDL levels, but pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols which are responsible for lowering harmful LDL levels.
7. They have anti-oxidant properties. Pumpkin seeds have a broad variety of anti-oxidative properties which is thought to be why they are such a potent anti-oxidant.
8. They may prevent and treat diabetes. Preliminary studies on laboratory animals have shown that ground pumpkin seeds can improve regulation of insulin and even protect against the effects of diabetes on kidney function.
9. They have anti-viral properties. The lignans in pumpkin seeds (namely lariciresinol, pinoresinol and medioresinol) are responsible for the anti-viral properties associated with the seeds, providing a much needed immune system boost at a particularly sickly time of year.
10. They reduce the risk of some cancers. Research into the area has shown that the anti-oxidant properties of pumpkin seeds may well play a role in reducing the risk of cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. Research is ongoing, however, though many experts expect to find pumpkin seeds reduce the risk of many more cancers.