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We all know that pumpkin seeds are great for our health, but did you know that ¼ cup of the seeds contains 50% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium? Magnesium is an important mineral involved in numerous body processes such as the creation of ATP and the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It also plays a role in the pumping of blood, proper formation of teeth and bones and relaxation of the muscles and blood vessels.
Here are the main health benefits of magnesium:
Great for the heart
As we already mentioned, ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds contain almost half of the RDA of magnesium, which is highly important for our health. Magnesium can regulate the blood pressure and prevent sudden heart attacks and stroke. However, almost 80% of the American population is magnesium-deficient and doesn’t consider the mineral that important.
An excellent source of zinc
A cup of pumpkin seeds contain more than 2 mg. of zinc, a mineral that plays a role in many body functions. Zinc is important for our sleep and senses of taste and smell, as well as for our eyesight and skin. Many people are zinc deficiency nowadays due to the soil exhaustion of the mineral and the side-effects of drugs and diet rich in grains. Zinc deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of colds and the flu as well as fatigue, depression, memory problems and reduce school performance in children.
Rich in omega-3 fats
Besides the healthy amount of minerals, pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 fats. However, besides the plant-based omega-3 fats, our bodies need to get animal origin omega-3 fats, which can be found in krill oil.
Great for the prostate
Pumpkin seeds have been long considered as one of the most important foods for male reproductive health. This is mainly due to the high zinc content, which is important for your prostate, but also because of the extracts and oils in pumpkin seeds which can treat benign prostate hyperplasia.
Several studies have shown that pumpkin seeds can regulate the blood sugar levels and treat diabetes.
Beneficial for postmenopausal women
Pumpkin seed oil is a natural phytoestrogen that can increase the levels of the good (HDL) cholesterol and regulate blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pain and other menopausal symptoms.
Great for the heart and liver
Pumpkin seeds contain fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats which are great for the liver and heart, especially when combined with flaxseeds.
Rich in tryptophan
The seeds are rich in tryptophan, a rare amino acid that the body converts to serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that are important for your mood and sleep. Eating pumpkin seeds before going to bed along with carbs in the form of a small fruit can be beneficial for your body and will promote a good night sleep.
Powerful anti-inflammatory benefits
Pumpkin seed oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that can treat arthritis naturally and without side-effects. According to one study, administering pumpkin seed oil in animals with chemically induced rheumatoid arthritis managed to reduce the swelling and pain significantly.
What’s the best way of eating pumpkin seeds?
In order to preserve their nutritional content, pumpkin seeds should be consumed raw. If you decide to buy them in bulk, make sure they’re fresh – leathery pumpkin seeds indicate that they are suffering from fungal overgrowth. Like with all seeds, organic pumpkin seeds are best.
Crush 6 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds with a kitchen mallet, then grind them to powder in a meat grinder. Mix equal parts molasses and honey to create a fine syrup, then add a bit of cinnamon and lemon juice from ½ a lemon. Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture every morning on an empty stomach to boost your overall health. If you prefer the seeds roasted, toast them yourself and regulate the temperature. Raw pumpkin seed can be roasted in the oven and sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt for a tasty treat.