Let’s be honest – most of crave a snack every once in a while. Instead of reaching for a candy bar in between meals, try keeping a healthy snack handy. Not only do pumpkin seeds make a crunchy and satisfying treat, they also provide some amazing health benefits for the body!
Here are seven health benefits of pumpkin seeds:
1. Tryptophan For Restful Sleep
Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called tryptophan. The body converts tryptophan into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin, often called the sleep hormone. Snacking on pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed can help promote a restful night’s sleep.
2. Anti-inflammatory Benefits
Research has shown that pumpkin seed oil provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. One study found that pumpkin seed oil performed just as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, without the dangerous side effects.
3. Anti-Diabetic Effects
Pumpkin seeds may be especially beneficial in individuals who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds can help improve insulin regulation in the body to prevent diabetic complication by decreasing oxidative stress.
4. Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Pumpkin seeds, along with other nuts and seeds, are a healthy source of plant-based omega-3’s. Getting an adequate amount of Omega-3’s in your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease and give your immune system a healthy boost.
5. Zinc For Immune Support
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a beneficial mineral for the body. Zinc helps boost immunity and plays a role in sleep, mood, skin health and insulin regulation. Zinc deficiency is associated with increased illness, chronic fatigue, depression and acne, among other health issues.
6. Magnesium For Heart Health
Half a cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly the full recommended daily amount of magnesium. Magnesium is needed for a wide range of functions in the body, including proper bone and tooth formation, DNA and RNA synthesis and the pumping of the heart. Proper magnesium intake benefits blood pressure to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke.
7. Heart and Liver Health
Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats, dietary fiber and antioxidants, all of which can provide major benefits for heart and liver health. A healthy intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect against both liver disease and heart failure. Antioxidants also play a role in keeping the heart and liver healthy and strong.
If you like your pumpkin seeds with a little bit more flavor and crunch, watch the video below to find out how to roast your own pumpkin seeds at home: