(NaturalHealth365) Pumpkin seeds are subtly sweet, protein-rich and a healthy anti-inflammatory snack. In addition, most seeds like pumpkin, chia and hemp are a great source of essential minerals. There are, in fact, many studies that suggest pumpkin seeds will keep the heart healthy and bones strong.
Did you know that consuming an ounce of pumpkin seeds a day can provide you with vital minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper?
Seeds are packed with essential fats, heart-healthy magnesium and phytosterols – which is why pumpkin seeds standout as a functional food. In fact, its medicinal ability is officially recognized by the European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Eliminates your fears about ‘good and bad’ cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds have an amazing potential to decrease bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol levels. This was shown in research conducted on rat models that were induced with atherosclerosis (a form of heart disease) and supplemented with pumpkin seeds. After 37 days of supplementation, researchers observed that there was a 47% drop in total cholesterol and 78% drop in bad LDL cholesterol.
By the way, the study was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines – for those that want to look deeper into the research.
Researchers point to the high levels of magnesium; phytosterols and monounsaturated fats as three prime contributing factors that help to protect the heart from disease. According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, pumpkin seeds are among the third highest in cholesterol-reducing phytosterols. High levels of phytosterols, in foods, hinder the absorption of cholesterol in the body – thereby reducing blood cholesterol levels.
How can I strengthen the bones with a healthy diet?
Surprising, to some people, when it comes to bone health – there are many minerals that are involved in maintaining a healthy bone structure. Very often, there are minerals like boron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc which are overlooked – when it comes to preventing osteoporosis.
The science is overwhelmingly clear.
Two separate human studies underscored the importance of minerals other than calcium in preventing the development of osteoporosis. A study published in the November 2005 issue of Journal of American Geriatric Society revealed that high dietary magnesium intake is associated with better bone density and decreased risk of osteoporosis – in over 2,000 elderly subjects.
In the second study, from the journal Osteoporosis International, researchers found that the low intake of minerals like, phosphorous and zinc increased the risk of fracture in participants aged 46 – 68, versus those with higher intake.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, another important nutrient in bone-building. Furthermore, researchers say that just one quarter cup of the seeds can provide a rich amount of bone-building nutrients like, manganese and iron. Plus, due to its alkaline forming nature – pumpkin seeds significantly decrease the loss of calcium from bones and increase the retention of all kinds of minerals.
Keep in mind, since the nutrients in pumpkin seeds are fragile, the seeds need to be refrigerated soon after the shells are removed. It is also a good idea to eat fresh (organic) seeds for obvious reasons. And, to improve digestibility and nutrient absorption – you may want to try sprouted seeds.
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1. Nissinen M, Gylling H, Vuoristo M, Miettinen TA. Micellar distribution of cholesterol and phytosterols after duodenal plant stanol ester infusion. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2002 June;282(6):1009-15.
2. Phillips KM, Ruggio DM, Ashraf-Khorassani M. Phytosterol composition of nuts and seeds commonly consumed in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov;53(24):9436-45.
3. El-Mosallamy AE, Sleem AA, Abdel-Salam OM, Shaffie N, Kenawy SA. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2012 Feb;15(2):180-9.
4. Ryder KM, Shorr RI, Bush AJ. Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects. J Am Geriatr Soc.2005 Nov;53(11):1875-80.
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