Pumpkins are more than filling for pie or to carve at Halloween; they contain seeds that provide many health benefits. Raw pumpkin seeds are delicious as a snack or can be incorporated into various foods for added flavor. These chewy seeds are also called pepitas, and you can buy them pre-packaged or take them straight from a pumpkin.
Eat raw pumpkin seeds and you'll boost your intake of zinc. One-fourth cup of raw pumpkin seeds contains 2.1 mg of zinc, which is 14 percent of the recommended daily amount. Zinc plays an essential role in activating proteins that your cells need to function. Zinc-dependent proteins regulate the activity of genes within your cells, help produce energy, support your immune system and make up part of your cell membranes.
Reducing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pumpkin seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a type of essential fatty acid known as omega-3. These types of fatty acids can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, decreasing inflammatory response. Dietary pumpkin seeds can control pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis in a manner similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications that are frequently used for this condition.
Raw pumpkin seeds contain fiber, which means portions of the seeds are indigestible by the body. According to Oklahoma State University, fiber controls bowel function and helps protect the body against heart disease. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol by attaching to cholesterol in the intestine so it can be excreted from the body. The fiber found in raw pumpkin seeds also boosts digestive health -- it keeps you regular and fights off constipation.
- pumpkin image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.