Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are the edible seeds of a pumpkin, commonly used in cooking or as snacks. Regardless of how you enjoy them, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extract, and pumpkin seed oil all have beneficial health properties.
These seeds have long been used in traditional medicine to support urinary tract health, and recently, pumpkin seeds are being associated with promoting the health of your bladder and prostate too.
Pumpkin seeds or extract contain important vitamins, including thiamin, vitamin A, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. They are also rich in essential minerals like potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and calcium.
Beyond the nutritional value, pumpkin seeds are one of several powerful phytotherapeutic agents used to support overall health, and in particular support men’s urinary tract, bladder, and prostate health.
The prostate gland is an important gland that sits below the bladder. This small gland produces 75 percent of the fluid that makes up semen. The prostate grows as a part of normal aging, but because of its anatomical position, this can be problematic. If the prostate begins to push against the bladder, this can increase the frequency of urinary tract and prostate symptoms associated with normal aging, including:
♦ Urgency to urinate
♦ Nighttime urination
♦ Difficulty urinating
♦ Urine flow, starting and stopping
Zinc is a mineral that is important in the support of healthy prostate function, and healthy prostate glands have the highest levels of zinc in any part of the body. High zinc levels can be associated with prostate tissue health and the lessening of common urinary symptoms associated with normal aging. Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, and one cup a day can help support healthy prostate cell and tissue health.
Pumpkin seeds have also been found to support the health of your bladder. Traditionally, pumpkin seed extract has been used to support bladder function, helping the bladder expand and contract. Through several actions, the compounds in pumpkin seeds can support bladder health:
♦ Anabolic actions: Pumpkin seed extract helps strengthen the pelvic floor, which in turn helps you maintain a normal urination schedule during day and nighttime hours.
♦ Nitric oxide synthesis: Nitric oxide plays an important role in supporting urinary tract health. This molecule promotes urinary tract muscle relaxation when the bladder is full, and without it, the bladder volume is reduced. Pumpkin seed extract has been shown to promote nitric oxide synthesis to support normal urinary flow.
It is important to note that it is the water-soluble components of the pumpkin seeds that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and are the most effective at reducing common urinary tract issues associated with normal aging.
♦ Pumpkin seed oil can support healthy hormone levels to promote hair growth.
♦ Pumpkin seeds can support healthy cholesterol levels to promote heart health.
♦ Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium, an essential mineral for maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as promoting normal energy and healthy nerve and muscle function.
♦ The fiber in pumpkin seeds help support gut health and normal bowel movements.
There is not a set dosage of pumpkin seeds that doctors recommend for prostate or urinary tract health. In general, a handful a day will provide the zinc and other essential nutrients you need.
You can find raw or toasted pumpkin seeds in most stores, and be sure to look for organic brands that have not been grown with pesticides or fertilizers. You can also prepare your own pumpkin seeds by:
♦ Removing seeds from the inside of a pumpkin, making sure to remove all pulp
♦ Spread the seeds in a single layer on paper towels to dry overnight
♦ Roasting them on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, adding olive oil and your favorite seasonings
Pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of fiber, so a large quantity can cause occasional gas, bloating, and constipation.
It is also important to note that these seeds are high in fat and calories, with one cup containing 285 calories and 12 grams of fat. Eating too many, too often, could work against your weight management goals.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack as well as a naturally-sourced way to promote prostate and urinary tract health. Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oils support healthy prostate cell function, in addition to a host of other health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are a perfect alternative for unhealthy snacks and a delicious way to promote prostate and overall health.