Pumpkin seeds (kaddu ke beej) have been a part of the Indian cuisine since ages. But did you know that these seeds are powerhouses of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other healthy nutrients? They help to keep the heart healthy, boost immunity, keep the bones strong, improve your sleep quality and help in regulating blood sugar levels. You can have them raw or roasted as a healthy snack option or add them to cakes and desserts.
Pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories per 100 g.The seeds are packed with mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of protein, 100 g seeds provide 30 g or 54% of recommended daily allowance of protein. They are packed with B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. The seeds contain good amounts of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Given below are some reasons why this tiny seeds deserves your attention:
1 . Improve Heart Health
The high amount of magnesium (28 g of seeds contains 74 mg, 19% of RDA) means that pumpkin seeds help in regulating blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke. They are also rich in MUFA, thereby lowering bad cholesterol and keeping the heart healthy. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids which also promote heart health.
2 . Boost Immunity
1 ounce/28g of Pumpkin seeds contain around 2.9g of zinc which plays an important part in the body by boosting immunity, maintaining cell health, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and neurological growth in children.
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3 . Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Initial research has shown that pumpkin seeds can help lower effects of diabetes by regulating the insulin levels and reducing chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Although further studies are required to confirm this, it is believed that the high magnesium in pumpkin seeds is the main reason for the effect.
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4 . Promote Bone Health
The high amount of magnesium and phosphorous found in these seeds means they are great for bones and teeth. Pumpkin seeds help increase bone density and also reduce risk of bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
5 . Improve Sleep
For people suffering from insomnia and finding it hard to get a night of restful sleep, chewing on a few pumpkin seeds along with a biscuit, fruit or any source of carbohydrate might be the answer. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in the seeds gets converted by the body to the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.
6 . Help Prevent Cancers
Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of antioxidants including Vitamin E all of which help in promoting cell health and prevent oxidative damage to cells. This ultimately cuts down the risk of cancer.
WAYS TO INCLUDE THEM IN DIET
-You can eat raw kernels of pumpkin seeds as a snack or add some for garnishing desserts.
-Pumpkin seeds in powdered form can be added in cakes, breads and cookies.
-You can also add them as a constituent to home-made granola bars.
-Add the raw seeds on top of salads.
-Use the seed powder to thicken and enhance taste of meat and vegetable gravies
Whichever way you choose to include this healthy seed in your diet, they will add value to your overall health. Be sure to add them to your grocery list next time. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!