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If you’re in the mood for a chewy snack that doubles as a phenomenal health food, look no further than pumpkin seeds.With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants,1 which can give your health an added boost.Best of all, because pumpkin seeds are highly portable and require no refrigeration, they make an excellent snack to keep with you whenever you’re on the go, or they can be used as a quick anytime snack at home, too.

9 Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

1.  Heart Healthy Magnesium

One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.

2.  Zinc for Immune Support

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and other diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.

3.  Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA — by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA, I believe it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fats from animal sources, such as krill oil, as well.

4.  Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds2 may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.

5.  Anti-Diabetic Effects

Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.4

6.  Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.5

7.  Heart and Liver Health

Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.6

8.  Tryptophan for Restful Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep.7

9.  Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.8 

Learn More: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

Nutrition facts and health benefits

• Pumpkin seeds have large amounts of minerals that include copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

• These seeds are rich in Vitamin K.

• These seeds are able to help in lowering LDL cholesterol in human bodies. This is because they have phytosterols compounds.

• Pumpkin seeds promote sleep and lower depression. This is due to the presence of tryptophan (in them) which when absorbed in the body becomes serotonin, a good sleep inducer.

• Pumpkin seeds contain big amount of zinc, a mineral very important in preventing osteoporosis.

• Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of vitamin E and the B vitamins.

• Pumpkin seeds are full of protein as mentioned earlier. They also reduce inflammation associated with arthritis.

• Pumpkin seeds have been found to have the ability to prevent formation of kidney stones.

• In some cultures, pumpkin seeds are used as a natural remedy for tapeworm and many other parasites.

• Pumpkin seeds are perfect for men who are at risk of developing prostate cancer. The oil contained in these seeds helps to alleviate urination associated with enlarged prostate.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040549_pumpking_seeds_pepitas_healthy.html#ixzz2iwnReQSs

Prostate Protection

They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.

Improved Bladder Function

In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.

Depression Treatment

They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Prevention of Kidney Stones

They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.

Treatment of Parasites They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis, a parasite contracted from snails.

Great Source of Magnesium

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.

Lower Cholesterol

Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Cancer Prevention

The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds.html

Picture of Pumpkins found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin

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