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Pumpkin seeds, whose scientific name is Cucurbita maxima, have several he alth 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 favoring intestinal he alth and reducing inflammation in the body that can arise due to various diseases.
Pumpkin seeds can be consumed pure, being more common to be incorporated in salads, or used to prepare recipes, being able to be crushed, for example. In addition, you can also find pumpkin seed oil in he alth food stores and on the internet, which also has several he alth benefits.
The main he alth benefits of pumpkin seeds are:
1. 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 fight excess stress, fatigue and stimulate memory.
2. 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.
3. Helps to increase muscle mass
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein, so it can be interesting to include them in the diet when the goal is to gain muscle mass, and can be included in salads, smoothies, yogurt, cereals and snacks.
4. Protects the body's cells
Due to their high content of antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin E, pumpkin seeds help protect the body's cells from the effect of free radicals, helping to reduce inflammation, as well as helping to reduce the risk of some types of cancer, such as stomach, prostate, colon and breast.
5. Decreases inflammation
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of omega-3, which exerts an anti-inflammatory action against stress processes or diseases that may be causing an inflammatory state of the body, helping to protect the body of cardiovascular and brain diseases and improving memory and disposition. Discover all the benefits of omega-3.
6. Improves prostate and thyroid he alth
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral that is important for strengthening the immune system and helps regulate thyroid function.Some studies have shown that the daily consumption of these seeds helps to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia and improve the quality of life.
7. Helps fight intestinal parasites
These seeds have been used as a home remedy to fight intestinal parasites, as they have anti-parasitic and anthelmintic action, and can be consumed by both children and adults.
8. Fights anemia
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent plant source of iron and, therefore, help fight anemia, and can also be consumed by vegans or vegetarians to increase the amount of iron in the body.
It is important that together with the pumpkin seeds, some food source of vitamin C is also consumed, because this way it is possible to favor its intestinal absorption. Some foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, tangerines, papaya, strawberries and kiwi.See a list of foods rich in vitamin C.
9. Relieves bellyache
Pumpkin seeds help relieve stomach pain and menstrual cramps, as they contain magnesium, which is a mineral that works by decreasing muscle contraction and nerve functioning and, as a consequence, menstrual pain.
10. Take care of heart he alth
These seeds have phytosterols, magnesium, zinc, good fatty acids and omega-3, which help maintain heart he alth as they exert a cardioprotective effect, as they help control blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular risk, lowering cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels.
11. Regulates blood sugar levels
As it has a lot of fiber and magnesium, pumpkin seeds help regulate blood sugar levels, being very important for people with diabetes and for those who have obesity with insulin resistance or hyperinsulinism.
How to prepare pumpkin seeds
To consume pumpkin seeds, you must extract them directly from the pumpkin, wash them, put them on a plate and leave them exposed to the sun. Once they are dry, they can be eaten.
Another way to prepare pumpkin seeds is to place them on a tray with parchment paper and place in the oven at 75ºC and leave until golden, which takes about 30 minutes. It is important to shake the tray from time to time to prevent the seeds from burning. They can also be toasted in a skillet or microwave.
If you want to give the pumpkin seeds a different flavor, you can add a little olive oil or a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or s alt to the seeds.
How to consume pumpkin seeds
1. Dry seeds
Properly dried pumpkin seeds can be used whole in a salad or soup, for example, or as an aperitif, when a little s alt and ginger powder is sprinkled, as is common in Greece.
However, you should not add too much s alt, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure. Consuming about 10 to 15 grams of seeds every day for 1 week is good for eliminating intestinal worms.
2. Crushed seed
Can be added to cereal, yogurt or fruit juice. To crush, simply beat the dry seeds in a mixer, blender or food processor.
3. Pumpkin Seed Oil
Can be found in certain supermarkets, or ordered online. It should be used to season the salad or add to the soup after it is 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 per day for 2 weeks.