Q: I hear you’ve been extolling the health benefits of eating pumpkin seeds. What can they do for me?
A: Pumpkin seeds pack a lot of punch when it comes to nutrition. Those small flat green seeds offer you a wide range of potential health benefits that include improved immunity, reduced cholesterol, and a lot more.
Pumpkin seeds are convenient to add to your salads or trail mix, and they’re usually available at your grocery or health food store. One cup gives you 747 calories and 33.87 grams of protein. Believe it or not, pumpkin seeds also provide you with a wonderful alternative to milk. Who would think that such green-colored seeds, when blended with only water, would produce a drink almost as white as any milk? But before I tell you my secret recipe for delicious pumpkin seed milk, let me give you a rundown on a few of the potential benefits of adding pumpkin seeds to your diet:
– A study published in the British Journal of Urology in 1990 found that curbicin, a chemical substance found in pumpkin seeds, can significantly improve the symptoms associated with prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH).
– Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, and zinc. Zinc is important in preventing BPH, bolstering immunity, and keeping bones strong.
– A study published in the British Journal of Cancer in 1994 concluded that supplementation with alpha-linolenic acid – an essential fat, abundant in pumpkin seeds, with potential beneficial effects on breast tissue – may delay or prevent the development of metastasis in breast cancer patients.
– Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which can enhance immunity and decrease cholesterol.
– Pumpkin seeds have potential anti-inflammatory effects that may ease symptoms of arthritis, according to an animal study published in Pharmacological Research in 1995. The researchers found that pumpkin seed oil was as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin.
– According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1987, the profusion of phosphorous in pumpkin seeds may help prevent kidney stones.
– Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid L-tryptophan – the precursor to serotonin, an important neurotransmitter.
Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for – my secret pumpkin seed milk recipe: put one cup of pumpkin seeds into a blender, add five cups of water, blend on high for one minute, strain, and add one-quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract and a few drops of Stevia or (optional) one tablespoon of agave syrup, honey or maple syrup. Enjoy!