Autumn is that time of year when families bring home a variety of pumpkins and squash to decorate their homes with and/or roast in their ovens. Most of the time we do not even think about the seeds when we scoop out the pulp and throw it in our compost. Many do not realize that seeds offer protective nutrients that benefit our overall health and wellbeing.
Pumpkin seeds offer a variety of nutrients that help to protect our cells, boost our immune system, prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation. Pumpkin seeds happen to be a very good source of:
In fact, in a serving of pumpkin seeds you can get a couple extra milligrams of zinc if you eat the pumpkin seed with the shell.
Pumpkin seeds also contain cancer-fighting antioxidants such as phenolic acids. Other plant nutrients such as lignans are abundant in pumpkin seeds and contain anti-estrogenic effects that inhibit cell growth in breast tumors.
A herbal supplement including pumpkin seed extract taken by men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) improved symptoms by reducing the prostate epithelium after 6 months of treatment. However pumpkin seed oil extract taken alone may also help reduce BPH symptoms. Another study showed that pumpkin seed extract exhibited a diuretic effect, which can relieve bladder discomfort by reducing prostate swelling without reducing the gland size.
Pumpkins are native to the Americas North, South, and Central America. Pumpkin seeds have been found at archeological sites in southwestern regions of North America. According to some historians, Native Americans ate pumpkin seeds before they ate the pumpkin flesh because most wild pumpkins were too bitter to eat.
Pumpkin seeds offer a mild nutty chew and textured crunch to any dish. You can eat pumpkin seeds with granola, steel cut oats, salads, squash dishes, soups, add it to baked goods.
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Friederich M, Theurer C, Schiebel-Schlosser G. [Prosta Fink Forte capsules in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Multicentric surveillance study in 2245 patients]. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2000;7:200-4.
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Marks L, Partin AW, Epstein JI, et al. Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol 2000;163:1451-6.