(NaturalHealth365) Many people have pumpkin seeds just once a year – as a delicious toasted by-product of the Halloween jack-o-lantern. Many others have never even tried them. However, with all of their health benefits, these nutty tasting seeds and its by-product pumpkin seed oil ought to be consumed far more often. (keep reading to find out why)
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil contain an impressive array of vitamins and health-supporting compounds. These include manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, protein, zinc and iron.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in essential fatty acids and tryptophan, making them an effective tool in supporting heart health and preventing arthritis, osteoporosis, bladder dysfunction and anxiety.
How pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil support heart and bone health
Pumpkin seeds have been found to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and improve heart health by raising HDL cholesterol and reducing harmful levels of LDL cholesterol. This is likely due to their high content of phytosterols, a compound that inhibits cholesterol absorption in the intestines.
Pumpkin seeds also contributes to lowered blood pressure levels and pumpkin seed oil has an even higher concentration of phytosterols than just the seeds.
Pumpkin seeds help to support bone health due to their high content of magnesium as well as phosphorous and zinc. A University of Tennessee study found that magnesium was essential to bone mineral density and avoiding osteoporosis.
Another study published in the Osteoporosis International journal found a significant association between getting enough phosphorous and zinc and reduced bone fracture risk. Additionally, pumpkin seed oil helps to ease the inflammation associated with arthritis and related conditions.
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil support bladder health and a better mood
Overactive bladder affects up to 16 percent of aging adults and can dramatically affect quality of life. It is characterized by sudden urges to urinate and can cause involuntary urination. Several studies have found pumpkin seed oil and extract to be effective in reducing these symptoms significantly and helping to restore bladder control.
Another study showed pumpkin seed oil and extract helped men with enlarged prostates to reduce nighttime urination by 30 percent and improve flow by 40 percent.
A high level of tryptophan in pumpkin seeds also helps to reduce anxiety, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin in the brain, which boosts mood and feelings of well-being.
Enjoy pumpkin seeds year-round for improved health
You can roast fresh pumpkin seeds by washing them and then dry-roasting them with a low-heated pan until golden brown. The aroma is amazing! When done, you can add them to salads, soups, stews and casseroles, or eat a handful of them – as a delicious snack.
Organic pumpkin seeds are also available for purchase in most health food stores. Use pumpkin seed oils and extracts as directed for an even more potent source of pumpkin seed health benefits.