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- Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral), which is important for immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
- Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA -- by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA, I believe it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fats from animal sources, such as krill oil, as well.
- Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men's health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed oil used in combination with saw palmetto may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
- Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.
- Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good "HDL" cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women
The pumpkin fruit, in general, is grown as a field vegetable crop. Its seeds, at the same time, have been in use as food, and to extract pumpkin seed oil since centuries. In fact, in some parts of central Europe (Styrian province in Austria, Slovenia and Hungary), pumpkins are being cultivated solely for their seeds, as a major oil-seed crop at a commercial scale.
Generally, the pumpkin fruit is allowed to mature completely in order to obtain good-quality seeds. Each fruit contains up to 500 cream-white husky seeds located at its central hollow cavity; interspersed in between net like mucilaginous network. The seeds are semi-flat, feature typical ovoid shape with a conical tip. Inside, its kernels feature olive-green color, sweet, buttery in texture and nutty in flavor. Pepitas enjoyed as snack, added in desserts and in savory dishes.