Pumpkin seeds are edible seeds, usually consumed after roasting. Pumpkin (kaddu in Hindi) is commonly available all over India and many other countries. But did you know, even Pumpkin seeds are edible and can impart amazing benefits. Pumpkin also known as ‘Kaddu’ in hindi belongs to Cucurbitaceae plant family. It is a very common vegetable (which is basically a fruit) in Indian Kitchens and consumed as a main course or a dessert.
Benefits of Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) are known from ages but still need more attention from millennial. These all small packs of natural power and nutrition booster rich in fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
How To Eat Pumpkin Seeds (kaddu-ke-beej):
Next time whenever you bring pumpkin don’t throw the seeds. Collect, wash and dry the seeds. Here are different ways to eat the pumpkin seeds –
Raw or Roasted with outer shell :
Some people prefer to eat straight from the pumpkin and get all the nutritional benefits. Although it doesn’t taste best when raw. But if roasted well, the seeds taste well with the outer shell also. Roasting also makes it crunchy and easy to bite.
Roasted without shell :
You can crack the outer shell of the pumpkin seed by your teeth and take out the seed. Then roast them in with some olive oil and enjoy as a snack. Add salt if you like. However, seeds without shell are also available in the market and will make job easy.
Boiled Seeds :
It is best to collect the seeds and boil in a pan. For 1 cup of seeds, add 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoon of salt. Then, boil it for 10 minutes and drain in a colander. Boiling also removes the outer shell of the seeds which can be separated. Let the seeds dry. Now, bake the seeds in oven or over the cook top. Roasting time depends on the size of the seeds.
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds (kaddu-ke-beej):
1. Prostate Health :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) are rich source of Zinc, Selenium and Magnesium. Lower level of selenium can lead to enlarged prostate while zinc enables the testosterone. According to USDA, per 100 gm of pumpkin seeds contain 550 mg of Magnesium (155% of daily value required) and 7.64 mg of Zinc (80% of daily value required). Just eat handful of roasted, raw or sprouted seeds of pumpkin to promote male reproductive health.
2. Immunity or Immune System :
Higher zinc level in seeds of pumpkin helps to improve immunity, heals wounds and supports normal growth. It is better to add these seeds in your daily diet as a snack; or you can add it in smoothies or salad.
3. Heart Health:
Pumpkin seed (kaddu-ke-beej) nutrients help to reduce blood pressure and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Moreover, its high level of antioxidants, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids support your heart health. Therefore, eat handful of seeds as a snack or an ingredient to your main dish.
4. Sleep Disorder Prevention :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) not only improve sleep but also help to treat depression. According to research, per 100 gm of pumpkin seeds have 4.43 mg of Niacin (30% of daily value required) which is essential in creating the neurotransmitter serotonin (also known as ‘Happy Hormone’). Correspondingly, serotonin helps in regulating mood and help on production of melatonin (sleep Hormone).
5. Vermicides or Anti Intestinal Worms :
Pumpkin seeds have been used as an antihelminthic (anti worm) from ancient times. It is believed that an amino acid cucurbitacin present in pumpkin seeds paralyses the intestinal worms and furthermore help to expel the worms from the intestine.
Blend one cup of raw pumpkin seeds (130 gm) in to fine paste and mix it with a glass of milk; however coconut milk works great. Then, drink this mixture in the morning on an empty stomach. Do not add any sweetener to the mixture as it can promote worm growth.
6. Bone Health :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) are rich in antioxidants. They are also an excellent source of magnesium which plays an important role in bone formation. In addition to, its oil has anti-inflammatory properties and very effective in treating arthritis. Essential fatty acids present in these seeds act as a lubricant to inflamed. (2)
7. Post-menopausal Health :
Pumpkin seeds oil have phytoestrogens (plant based oestrogens) which mimic the estrogen (female sex hormone) and reduce the post-menopausal symptoms. In addition to that, higher zinc level in the oil of these seeds help to reduce post-menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, headache, vaginal dryness, joint pain and insomnia.
8. Eye Health (Vision) :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) are rich source of zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene, Leutin and Zeaxanthin which protects eye as well as help to impart proper vision. Zinc facilitates vitamin-A to travel from liver to retina which sequentially create melanin (pigment that protects eye and impart color to the eye).
9. Lower Bad (LDL) Cholesterol :
Pumpkin seeds have substantial amount of fatty acid omega-3 and omega-6 and are equally beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). Phytosterols (plant compound similar to cholesterol) present in these seeds are potent in reduction of bad cholesterol. In addition to that, Phytosterols help to reduce the absorption of bad cholesterol (LDL) from your diet.
10. Nutrition Booster :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) are nutritional powerhouse wrapped in small packets. It is a good source of plant based proteins which help as a building block of the human body. Similarly, high amount of essential fatty acids- like omega 3 and omega 6, are good for the heart health.
Furthermore, antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E variants help to reduce free radicals, provide moisture to the skin and keeps you young. Not to miss higher zinc level act as an immunity booster, while magnesium regulates normal muscle and nerve function. Folate present in these seeds is precursor of genetic material (DNA) and other essential amino acids. Therefore, apart from normal people pumpkin seeds are good source of nutrition to pregnant women too.
11. Breast Cancer Prevention :
Pumpkin seeds are the suggested super food to prevent breast cancer due to its nutritional compositions. Food rich in Phytosterols like pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are associated with reduced breast cancer risk. It is best to eat slightly roasted pumpkin seeds or add cold pressed pumpkin seed oil in your diet.
12. Bladder Health :
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) have been used from centuries in different parts of the world to treat bladder problems. Water soluble extract of pumpkin seeds is a potential ingredient to treat over active bladder. Firstly, it helps production of testosterone which in turn strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Women after childbirth have weak pelvic floor muscles and often complain of passing urine (in small amount) during exercise, sneezing or suddenly getting up from chair.
Secondly, it helps to increase nitric oxide. Whenever bladder is full, it requires nitric oxide to release the bladder muscles. Insufficient nitric oxide leads to hyperactivity of bladder and leads to urge to urinate again and again.
13. Treats Anemia :
Pumpkin seeds are good source of iron. Per 100 gm of pumpkin seeds provide about 110% of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Iron. Higher folate level produces more red blood cells. Likewise, other nutritional ingredients of these seeds also help to eliminate the symptoms of anemia like fatigue, dark skin etc.
14. Good for Brain:
Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in healthy brain function and pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega-3. In addition to, they are also rich in antioxidants that protect body and brain from free radical damage. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in micro nutrients like Zinc, magnesium, iron and copper which are important for brain function.
Side Effects of Pumpkin Seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) :
1. Not For Infants :
2. Gaining Weight :
People trying to lose weight should eat pumpkin seeds in limited quantity. Because it can lead to weight gain. It is good to consume it as a light snack but over consumption should be avoided. 100 gm of pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) provide about 600 calories and 50 gm of fat. Plan your diet considering the nutrient value of the seeds.
3. Allergy :
Pumpkin seeds have reported few allergic cases. But it can lead to allergic reaction mainly affecting the skin like eczema or itching rashes. Other allergic reactions like allergic asthma, breathing problems, headache, throat congestion, swelling and redness around the mouth have also been reported. Caution should be taken while consuming initially to rule out any allergic conditions.
4. Not for Pregnant and Lactating women :
There is no scientific evidence of seeds affecting pregnant or lactating women. To be on the safer sides, it’s better to avoid any kind of complex foods like pumpkin seeds during pregnancy.
5. Not for Low Blood Pressure Patients :
Food rich in antioxidants have blood pressure lowering properties. Therefore, it is better to consult your doctor before consuming seeds in such cases. However, it is beneficial in case of hypertension.
Pumpkin seeds (kaddu-ke-beej) should be consumed in food quantities. Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. People on any kind of medication should consult their doctor to avoid any complications.
All the remedies given above are for the purpose of knowledge only; it is neither to be construed as a diagnosis or treatment, nor to be considered as a substitute for medical care from a doctor. Better to consult your doctor before trying these natural remedies.