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Pumpkin Seed Benefits — Cholesterol Regulation
Pumpkin seeds have been shown to have positive benefits on cholesterol regulation inside the body. This is due to the fact that pumpkin seeds are very rich in compounds called phytosterols. Phytosterols function very similarly to cholesterol inside the body, and when enough of them are present, the expected result is that they reduce the body’s overall need for cholesterol. So what does cholesterol do anyway? Let’s have cholesterol 101. Cholesterol is a very beneficial compound in the body. It is used by the body as bile to combine with fats in order to get them into the bloodstream for processing.
Fats and sugars are actually very similar. They’re both made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The main difference is that fats and oils don’t dilute in water, whereas sugar does. So sugar can pass very easily into the bloodstream and be used by the body. But in order for fats and oils to be used by the body, they must be combined with cholesterol to be made water soluble and useful to the body. Cholesterol is converted to bile and stored in the gallbladder. Bile contains compounds that make fats water soluble and the cholesterol in the bile then transports the fats through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream. So reducing your overall cholesterol isn’t always the best idea. Instead, a good idea is to regulate cholesterol by raising good levels of HDL, and lowering bad levels of LDL. This is exactly what pumpkin seed oil helps to do.
Phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds help to reduce the body’s overall need for cholesterol because they function in the plant in a very similar way that cholesterol functions inside the body. Cholesterol, besides helping to transport fats, also plays a large role in making up the membrane of the cell. Phytosterols make up the cell membranes of plants. They can aid and assist cholesterol in the body by taking some of the work load ordinarily performed by cholesterol. So pumpkin seed oil benefits the body greatly by helping to reduce the body’s overall need for cholesterol.
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Pumpkin Seed Benefits Against Depression
It’s odd to think that an oil like pumpkin seed benefits a condition like depression. Depression can be brought on by a host of different factors or a combination of factors. So how does pumpkin seed help? One of the main factors that contributes to depression in the modern age is a poor diet. The brain doesn’t get enough of the building blocks it needs for complex chemicals like neurotransmitters and because of that, mental clarity, motivation, attitude, and happiness begin to decline. Pumpkin seed has a very significant amino acid called L-tryptophan that’s a precursor to a lot of complex chemicals, but most notably serotonin, which has been called the happiness hormone.
A lot of people supplement with L-tryptophan because it generally promotes rest and relaxation. Apart from being a building block to serotonin, it’s also a building block to melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. When a person doesn’t have enough serotonin and melatonin, they can very easily begin to feel restless and anxious. Depression can quickly follow as well as fatigue and a number of other unpleasant conditions. Pumpkin seed oil benefits the body by giving it the building blocks to make more complex chemicals and help a person stay motivated, awake, and happy.
According to the USDA, one gram of pumpkin seeds contains 17.2 milligrams of L-tryptophan. That’s a fairly high content, and goes up from there when the seed oil is extracted from the actual seed. Pumpkin seed oil contains a significant amount of L-tryptophan, much more than most other seed oils. This makes pumpkin seed oil very beneficial for people with lactose intolerance, since dairy is one of the main sources of L-tryptophan.
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Anti Inflammatory Pumpkin Seed Benefits
One of the many pumpkin seed benefits offered to the human body is the anti inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds. But before we get into what exactly those properties are, let’s talk a bit about why anti inflammatory foods are important to have in your diet in the first place. Inflammation is a natural bodily immune system response when the body feels the need to defend and quarantine a certain area of the body, like when you get a bee sting. Ordinarily, it’s a good thing. But what’s happened is that, because of all the foreign compounds in the modern world and diet, things like pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colors, smog, prescription drugs, and more, the average person’s inflammation response is overly active. The body is on heightened alert, and often times makes the mistake of attacking the body itself, as is the case with many conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Anti inflammatory oils like pumpkin seed oils allows the inflammation response to go back to normal levels and not run the risk of the body attacking itself.
So what anti inflammatory properties and benefits do pumpkin seeds have? Let’s first talk about the pumpkin itself. The flesh of the pumpkin is loaded with carotenoids, both alpha carotene and beta carotene. Apart from their many other health benefits, beta carotene also has been shown to have strong anti inflammatory properties. Much like Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, beta carotene has properties which minimize the COX-2 pro inflammatory pathway. But the great thing about beta carotene is that it’s all natural and comes with a wide variety of other benefits. NSAIDs on the other hand, generally come with side effects instead of benefits, things like ulcers and other significant health concerns.
Pumpkin seeds have similar anti inflammatory benefits. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and other key nutrients that all have anti inflammatory benefits. This unique blend of healthy nutrients works together to provide a strong anti inflammatory response to the body. Many other seed oils have similar benefits, but pumpkin seed benefits outweigh other seed benefits in many ways. It really just depends on what you’re looking to get out of your seed oil.
Pumpkin Seed Benefits to the Prostate
Pumpkin seeds have many benefits to the human body, most notably, the positive effect they have on prostate health. Pumpkin seeds were actually an old cure for prostate conditions in the early 1900s but have since gone out of use with the invention of more modern medicines. As men grow older, many of them begin to experience enlarged prostate symptoms. Prostate symptoms generally begin to strike men around age 40, and by age 80, only 4 out of 5 men are experiencing or have experienced enlarged prostate or other conditions. While there are many medical ways to treat this condition, pumpkin seed oil has also been shown to help multiple kinds of prostate conditions. How does it do that?
There are a few ways and it depends on the type of prostate problem. For three of the main prostate conditions: asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, expressed prostatic secretion, and benign prostatic hyperplasia, pumpkin seeds may be shown to have significant benefits. This is because all three of these conditions seem to be affected by androgenic hormones such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. These two hormones are often associated with prostate inflammation and prostate cancer. It has been shown that pumpkin seed benefits and positively influences androgenic hormones and have even been suspected of inhibiting androgen receptors that can cause cancerous prostate cells to multiply. So pumpkin seed oil has numerous suspected benefits to persons suffering from prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. These findings haven’t been acknowledged in popular medicine, but more and more, studies are beginning to show the positive benefits of pumpkin seed oil on prostate health.
Pumpkin seeds also have indirect benefits to the prostate through the various nutrients that help maintain overall male health. There are some nutrients that are more beneficial for men to take and some that are more beneficial to women for the production and regulation of different bodies. Pumpkin seeds have been called “Male Tonic” in the past because the blend of nutrients found in pumpkin seed oil has been shown to benefit the different chemicals and systems that are unique to males.