There isn’t a lot of press about the health benefits of the small and unassuming pumpkin seed.
And you probably don’t think about pumpkins at all if it isn’t the holiday season. Often referred to as a “backyard” vegetable, pumpkin belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family – which also includes squash, cantaloupes and cucumbers.
But don’t ignore the powerful anti-aging antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds – or the flesh of the pumpkin itself, for that matter. You can enjoy pumpkin seeds without counting calories, saturated fat or cholesterol while getting plenty of fiber, vitamins, nutrients and minerals!
Anti-Aging Skin Care From the Humble Pumpkin Seed
Vitamin E, selenium, zinc and essential fatty acids found in pumpkin seeds make them a crucial part of your anti-aging skin care arsenal. The delicate skin of your face is often the first place to show any nutritional deficiency so babying your facial skin also benefits your body skin.
Vital Minerals & Vitamins Found In Pumpkin Seeds Can Reduce Skin Aging:
• Zinc found in the seeds help maintain collagen levels naturally for more elasticity.
• Zinc and selenium fight acne without harsh chemicals or side effects.
• Vitamin A stimulates new skin cell growth and repairs your existing skin damage.
• Essential fatty acids in pumpkin seeds help control the production of oils while maintaining moisture levels.
• Selenium also provides natural environmental and UV protection to prevent further skin damage.
• Vitamin E helps even out skin tone and minimizes the appearance of existing scars.
Getting enough fresh pumpkin in your diet is an excellent way to boost your vitamin A levels; it provides almost triple the recommended daily allowance (RDA), which in addition to reversing aging, it also protects your eyes from age-related macular degeneration.
Applying pumpkin topically gives you immediate results you can feel! Pumpkin heals, soothes and moisturizes, making it an excellent choice for your skin care regimen.
Pumpkin Face Mask
2 teaspoons pureed pumpkin (cooked or canned)
½ teaspoon raw, organic honey
¼ teaspoon milk
¼ teaspoon heavy whipping cream or ½ teaspoon brown sugar (for dry skin)
¼ teaspoon apple cider or ¼ teaspoon cranberry juice (for oily skin)
Combine all ingredients until smooth and well-blended. Apply with fingertips to the face, avoiding the eyes. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits for Men
Pumpkin seed oil prevents the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate, often a pre-cursor for cancer. Additionally, pumpkin seed oil has been shown to inhibit the growth or mutation of cells when men are taking testosterone treatments.
Their zinc content has been proven to boost sex drive and balance the hormones necessary to achieve satisfying orgasms. One quarter cup of pumpkin seed health benefits have enough to stop testosterone from converting to estrogen – studies have shown that women who have high sex drives have more zinc in their bodies.
Fighting Cholesterol Naturally
Phytosterols are the plant version of animal cholesterol. Their chemical makeup inhibits your absorption of cholesterol.
The Journal of Nutrition estimates that a 10% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol is possible simply by adding phytosterol-rich foods to your diet.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources – only sunflower seeds and pistachios have a higher phytosterol content. Snacking on pumpkin seeds rather than unhealthy snacks is a cheap and easy way to bring your cholesterol into manageable levels while enjoying the many other pumpkin seed health benefits that they have to offer.
More Help from the Humble Pumpkin Seed
• Pumpkin seeds prevent the most common kidney stones by naturally lowering the compound in your body – calcium oxalate – that causes them to form.
• Lowers your risk of osteoporosis.
• Inflammation that leads to arthritis is lowered with the same effectiveness as the prescription arthritis drug indomethacin – and without the harmful side effects!
Making Your Own Pumpkin Seeds
Buying them is far more convenient but if you’re working with a fresh pumpkin anyway don’t waste those fresh seeds! Wash thoroughly, dry on a paper towel and eat them raw for the most nutritional value. Lightly frying them on very low heat in extra virgin organic coconut oil is another tasty option.
Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin – don’t worry if you leave some of the strings and pumpkin bits on them. Drop a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan – the temperature should only be hot enough to melt the oil so as to preserve the nutrients in the seeds.
Add the pumpkin seeds and move them around to coat in the oil.
Cover and allow to gently fry/steam for no more than two minutes. Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings such as sea salt, cinnamon or garlic powder. Swirl around the pan for another thirty seconds and serve warm.
Pumpkin seed health benefits are becoming more well-known but we’ve been enjoying their great taste for years. This season, add pumpkin – and all its parts – to your nutrition plan!