Pumpkin seeds, whose scientific name is Cucurbita maxima, have several health benefits, as they are rich in omega-3, fiber, good fats, antioxidants and minerals such as iron and magnesium.
Therefore, these seeds can be included in the daily diet to improve the functioning of both the brain and the heart, as well as promoting intestinal health and reducing inflammation in the body that can arise due to various diseases.
The main health benefits of pumpkin seed are:
- Favors relaxation and promotes well-being
These seeds have a high amount of magnesium and tryptophan, which are substances that act at the brain level, helping to combat excess stress, tiredness and stimulate memory.
- Weight loss
Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, promoting a greater feeling of satiety and causing the person to reduce the amount of food consumed on a daily basis, ingesting fewer calories and favoring weight loss.
- Helps to increase muscle mass
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein, so it can be interesting to include in your diet when the goal is to gain muscle mass, which can be included in salads, vitamins, yogurt, cereals and snacks.
- Protects the body’s cells
Due to their high content of antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin E, pumpkin seeds help to protect the body’s cells from the effect of free radicals, helping to decrease inflammation, as well as helping to decrease the risk of some types of cancer , such as stomach, prostate, colon and breast.
- Decreases inflammation
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of omega-3, in which it exerts an anti-inflammatory action against stress processes or diseases that may be causing an inflamed state of the body, helping to protect the body from cardiovascular and brain diseases. and improving memory and mood. Discover all the benefits of omega-3.
- Improves prostate and thyroid health
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral that is important for strengthening the immune system and that helps to regulate the functioning of the thyroid. Some studies have shown that daily consumption of these seeds helps to decrease the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia and improve the quality of life.
- Helps fight intestinal parasites
These seeds have been used as a home remedy to fight intestinal parasites, since they have anti-parasitic and anthelmintic action, and can be consumed by both children and adults.
- Fight anemia
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent vegetable source of iron and, therefore, help to fight anemia, and can also be consumed by vegan or vegetarian people to increase the amount of iron in the body.
It is important that together with pumpkin seeds, some food source of vitamin C is also consumed, as it is thus possible to favor its intestinal absorption. Some foods rich in vitamin C are orange, mandarin, papaya, strawberries and kiwi. See a list of foods rich in vitamin C.
- Relieves belly pain
Pumpkin seeds help to relieve stomach pain and menstrual cramps, since it contains magnesium, which is a mineral that works by decreasing muscle contraction and the functioning of nerves and, as a consequence, menstrual pain.
- Takes care of heart health
These seeds have phytosterols, magnesium, zinc, good fatty acids and omega-3, which help to maintain the health of the heart since they have a cardioprotective effect, since they help to control blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular risk, decrease cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels.
- Regulates blood sugar levels
As it has a lot of fiber and magnesium, pumpkin seeds help to regulate blood sugar levels, being very important for diabetic people and for those who have obesity with resistance to insulin or hyperinsulinism.
How to prepare pumpkin seeds
To consume pumpkin seeds, you must extract it directly from the pumpkin, wash it, place it on a plate and leave it exposed to the sun. Once they are dry, they can be consumed.
Another way to prepare pumpkin seeds is to place them in a tray with parchment paper and place in the oven at 75ºC and leave until they are golden, which takes about 30 minutes. It is important to stir the tray from time to time to prevent the seeds from burning. They can also be roasted in a frying pan or in the microwave.
If you want to give the pumpkin seed a different flavor, you can add a little olive oil or a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or salt to the seeds.
How to consume pumpkin seeds
- Dried seeds
Properly dried pumpkin seeds can be used whole in salad or soup, for example, or as an appetizer, when a little salt and powdered ginger is sprinkled, as is common in Greece.
However, you should not add too much salt, especially if you suffer from hypertension. Consuming about 10 to 15 grams of seeds every day for 1 week is good for eliminating intestinal worms.
- Crushed seed
Yogurt or fruit juice can be added to cereals. To crush, just beat the dry seeds in a mixer, blender or food processor.
- Pumpkin seed oil
It can be found in certain supermarkets, or ordered over the internet. It should be used to season the salad or add to the soup when ready, because this oil loses its nutrients when heated, and therefore it should always be used cold.
In the case of intestinal parasites, it is recommended to consume 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seed oil daily for 2 weeks.