Small but full of properties for health. We are talking about pumpkin seeds, the snack par excellence capable of providing important benefits for the heart, mood, sleep and bones. But let's understand better on the basis of the most recent scientific research.
Pumpkin seeds, properties
Pumpkin seeds provide proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, phytosterols, antioxidants, such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and mineral salts such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and selenium (Abuelgassim et al, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med., 2012).
Pumpkin seeds for heart health
Pumpkin seeds have been shown to protect heart health through several effects. In fact, these seeds have a hypoglycemic action, stimulating the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin, and are capable of counteracting or at least delaying the onset of hypertension. Benefits were also observed with regard to cholesterol. Studies have made it possible to understand, in fact, that the intake of pumpkin seeds in the presence of arteriosclerosis has reduced both triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol (Abuelgassim et al, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med., 2012). Finally, it was also observed that pumpkin seeds help to counteract platelet aggregation and therefore help reduce the risk of thrombus formation (Sanzana et al, J Med Food, 2021).
Pumpkin seeds against cell degeneration
Pumpkin seeds also counteract cell degeneration. In particular, pumpkin seeds have been shown to be beneficial for stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon health (Abuelgassim et al, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med., 2012). This action is due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds. Not only that, the cucurbitacin present in pumpkin seeds is able to promote apoptosis, that is, the programmed death, of diseased cells (Lestari et al, Indones J Cancer Chemoprevent, 2018).
Pumpkin seeds and bones
Pumpkin seeds are helpful in preserving bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. In fact, pumpkin seeds promote bone remodeling and increase bone density. Pumpkin seeds, in fact, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, bring phytoestrogens to which the protective properties on the bone tissue are ascribed (Lestari et al, Indones J Cancer Chemoprevent, 2018).
Pumpkin seeds and mood
Pumpkin seeds are also good for the mood since they show an antidepressant action. Studies have shown that the antidepressant action of pumpkin seeds is due to their content in tryptophan, an essential amino acid precursor of serotonin, the good mood hormone (Dotto et al, Scientific African, 2020).
Pumpkin seeds, bladder and prostate
Pumpkin seeds also protect prostate health. In fact, the intake of pumpkin seeds helps to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (Dotto et al, Scientific African, 2020). But these seeds also show a beneficial action on the bladder. In fact, the intake of pumpkin seed extracts has led to improvements in the case of overactive bladder, a condition characterized by the continuous urge to urinate (Nishimura et al, J Tradit Complement Med., 2014).
Pumpkin seeds and insomnia
Pumpkin seeds, being a source of tryptophan, also contribute to improving sleep quality and counteracting insomnia, reducing the number of nocturnal awakenings and increasing the time spent in bed while asleep (Doherty et al, Nutrients, 2019).