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Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds Nutritional Information

Wednesday Nov 30, 2011

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds advice in consuming them. Nutritional value and healthy eating facts

1. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.  One and one-half ounces of pumpkin seeds can provide over one-third of an adult’s daily zinc requirements; offer protection for men’s bones, and anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis; is a rich source of healthful minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat. They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Pumpkin seeds help stimulate appetite, is beneficial for the teeth, gums, nerves, hair and nails, relieve constipation, helps to reduce overweight or obesity and dissolves gall stones; is helpful in cases of tuberculosis, contain anti-inflammatory properties without the harmful side effect of anti-inflammatory drug, is good for diabetics, help prevent osteoporosis because of its calcium content. In addition to their above-listed unique health benefits, pumpkin seeds also provide a wide range of traditional nutrients. Our food ranking system qualified them as a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein, and as previously mentioned, zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc. The seeds contain good quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g or 54% of recommended daily allowance. In addition, the seeds are excellent source of amino acids tryptophan (Tryptophan is converted in to serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is a beneficial neuro-chemical often labeled as nature’s sleeping pill. Further, tryptophan is precursor of B-complex vitamin, niacin (60 mg of tryptophan = 1mg niacin).) and glutamate.

Medicinal values of pumpkin seeds

Research studies suggest that pumpkin seeds have DHEA (Di hydro epi-androstenedione) blocking actions. This may be helpful in preventing prostate and ovarian cancers.

Experimental studies suggest that certain phytochemical compounds in pumpkin seed oil may have role in prevention of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).

According to studies they prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.

Researches demonstrate that pumpkin seeds to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels, promoting prostate health, and supporting the function of the immune system. They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.

However, pumpkin seeds are high in calories (about 559 calories per 100 g)  and should be eaten in moderation. Limit consumption to no more than three times weekly.

Advice: Hulled pumpkin kernels deteriorate soon if exposed to warm, humid conditions. Completely un-hulled seeds keep well for few months placed in cool dry place. Pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. While they may stay edible for several months, they seem to lose their peak freshness after about one to two months.

Pumpkin seeds are one of the fall & winter foods

2. Sunflower seeds

One of the most popular seeds consumed, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E and known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Studies have also shown them effective in guarding against cataracts. Magnesium from sunflower seeds calms your nerves, muscles and blood vessels; selenium offers an improved detoxification and cancer prevention

Experts recommend eating two tablespoons of sunflower seeds each day. Doing so will double your intake of vitamin E. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate.

Medicinal values of sunflower seeds

Native Americans used them as a medicine to ease chest pain, decrease water retention, expel worms, improve eyesight, and provide energy.

The seeds have diuretic and expectorant properties and have been employed with success in the treatment of bronchial, laryngeal and pulmonary affections, coughs and colds, also in whooping cough.

Today, some physicians include sunflower seed in the diet of patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The seeds help lower blood pressure, because the seeds are high in potassium and low in sodium, they act as a diuretic. They help improve cardiovascular health, suppress allergic reactions, and help people quit smoking.

However, they are high in calories (A 1-oz. portion (a little more than ¼ cup) is considered a standard serving size, with 170 calories and 14 g fat)  and should be eaten in limited quantities.

Advice: Since sunflower seeds have a high fat content and are prone to rancidity. Store whole seeds at room temperature in a bin or jar. However, sunflower kernels should be placed in an airtight container and stored inside the refrigerator

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