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National Pumpkin Seed Day!

Tomorrow, October 7th, is National Pumpkin Seed Day. This day celebrates these tasty seeds that come from everyone’s favorite gourd, pumpkins! Though they may be small, pumpkin seeds are packed full of valuable nutrients! Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. Not only are they delicious, but did you know that pumpkin seeds boast a host of nutritional benefits? These include improved heart health, prostate health and protection against certain cancers.

A one ounce serving of shell-free pumpkin seeds has roughly 151 calories, which are mainly from fat and protein. Here are some nutritional facts: Fiber: 1.7 grams; Carbs: 5 grams; Protein: 7 grams; Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s!); Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI; Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI; Manganese: 42% of the RDI; Magnesium: 37% of the RDI; Iron: 23% of the RDI; Zinc: 14% of the RDI; Copper: 19% of the RDI

-Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants! These include antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals, as well as slow the process of aging. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants like pumpkin seeds can help with healthy aging, brain health, and protect against many diseases.

-Improves Prostate and Bladder Health: Pumpkin seeds may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination including an overactive bladder. This condition may occur with aging for men, and in a one-year study in over 1,400 men with BPH, pumpkin seed consumption reduced symptoms and improved quality of life. Another study in 45 men and women with overactive bladders found that 10 grams of pumpkin seed extract daily improved urinary function.

-Linked to cancer prevention: Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers. Studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in preventing and treating breast cancer. Further test-tube studies found that a supplement containing pumpkin seeds had the potential to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells.

-Rich in Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, as well as heart and bone health. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium — a mineral that is often lacking in the diets of many Western populations. In the US, around 79% of adults have a magnesium intake below the recommended daily amount, and fortunately pumpkin seeds are readily available to help with that.

-Good For Your Heart! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids — all of which may help keep your heart healthy. Studies suggest that pumpkins’ ability to increase nitric oxide generation in your body may be responsible for its positive effects on heart health. Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries. Research has also shown that pumpkin seed oil may reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels — two important risk factors for heart disease.

-Improves sleep: If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to eat some pumpkin seeds before bed. They’re a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote sleep, and consuming around 1 gram of tryptophan daily is thought to improve sleep. Also the zinc in pumpkin seeds can help with hormonal processes related to sleep. Zinc assists with converting tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium levels have also been associated with better sleep. As we know, the better sleep that we have, the better it is for our mental health. In that way, pumpkin seeds improve mental well being as well!

Pumpkin season is in full swing, and while carving jack-o-lanterns or making pumpkin pie or soup, people may not know what to do with all of the seeds. Please do not throw these wonderful pumpkin seeds out! What is great about pumpkin seeds is that they can be easily incorporated into the diet, and use them in recipes. Private Home Care invites you tomorrow to eat extra pumpkin seeds for your health and to celebrate fall!

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