Peter, Peter… Pumpkin Seeds and Why Men Should Eat Them More.
There are many things that drive a man to do the things he does. Ambition, competition, a sense of accomplishment, or just plain craziness.
Whether at home, at work, in the gym, or in the bedroom, our ‘drive’ can release an adrenaline rush. This provides us with a boost of energy and heightened ability to either outdo ourselves, or to flee at super speed to avoid humiliation.
This is known as a stress response. And, although a certain amount of stress is good, an overload of it can prove detrimental. Our modern life gives us very little wiggle room to avoid stress through exercising our primal “fight or flight” response. As a result, once our adrenaline rush is done and begin to return to normal, another hormone; cortisol, becomes elevated. This is a bad thing for us guys.
In fact, stress, and the body’s biological response to cortisol over a prolonged period of time is the number one reason for the long list of health issues affecting men. Issues like high blood pressure, unhealthy weight gain/loss, addiction, anxiety, depression, and loss in sexual interest.
I know what you’re wondering. What does all of this have to do with pumpkin seeds? Am I right?
Well, since our response to daily stressors is limited to a certain extent; I mean, we can’t go around punching EVERYBODY in the throat no matter how tempting. Our next alternative, aside from physical exercise, is nutrition. During times of stress it’s even more important than usual that we have the nutrients needed to counteract stress, balance our hormones, and return to a productive life (that includes your sex life, too). And, that’s where pumpkin seeds come to our rescue.
The Great Pumpkin Powerhouse
Pumpkin seeds might not seem like much, but those little kernels are stuffed full of nutrients. You don’t have to eat a ton of them either. Just a small amount can supply your body with magnesium, zinc, and healthy fats.
Because of this, pumpkin seeds have been reported to have health benefits that extend from improving heart health, to improved prostate health in addition to defending our bodies from certain types of cancer.
The great thing is that pumpkin seeds are in season (so they’re easily accessible), they’re an inexpensive way to load up on a wide variety of nutrients, and they can easily be added to whatever nutritional program you currently follow.
Here in south Texas, pumpkin seeds are also known by their Spanish name; pepitas. And, unlike the white, salty, in-shell seeds you can buy that sort of taste like sunflower seeds, these seeds are shell-free, green, flat and oval in shape.
Full of Valuable Antioxidants
It's believed that antioxidants can reduce inflammation and shield your cells from unsafe free radicals. That's why good nutrition is so important. It can help ensure against a number of diseases.
The high number of number of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are thought to be the reason for the positive effects it can have on our health and wellbeing.
In one pharmacological study, pumpkin seed oil was shown to reduce inflammatory response in arthritic rats with without the adverse side effects experienced by those subject who were administered a pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory.
It’s a Cancer Fighter
Another interesting thing to note is that diets (like the one published by Science Direct) which included pumpkin seeds have been associated with a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers.
There’s Bladder Health, Too
There is support that suggests pumpkin seeds may also alleviate the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination, and any guy with a prostate will eventually run into this problem.
Mighty in Magnesium
One mineral that we tend to lack in our American diets but is very important, particularly to men, is magnesium. Good thing for us that pumpkin seeds are one of the best known sources of the stuff.
In case you don’t believe me, take a look at this study that says roughy 79% of American adults have a magnesium intake below the recommended daily amount.
The reason magnesium is so important to our biological function is that it’s needed to produce a huge number chemical reactions in the body.
For example, magnesium is needed for:
Controlling blood pressure (8).
Forming and maintaining healthy bones (11).
Reducing heart disease risk (12).
Speaking of The Heart
We already know that pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids — all of which may help keep your heart healthy.
However, other studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may have the ability to increase nitric oxide generation in your body which may also be responsible for its positive effects on heart health.
In case you didn’t know; nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries.
Helps The Boys Out - Sperm Quality
Reduced sperm count and quality have been associated with low zinc levels and perhaps a higher risk of infertility in men. But, all is not lost!
Since we already know that pumpkin seeds provide a rich source of zinc, they just might be the ticket to improvements below the belt.
Play With a Powerhouse
If you want to experience the benefits of pumpkin seeds, all you’ve got to do is add’em. Have them as a snack (either raw or roasted, salted or unsalted), blend them in your protein smoothie, scatter them on a salad, on your pasta or in a soup. They’re way too easy to incorporate into your diet. So don’t leave them out!
These little guys are a powerhouse of energy and nutrition that can not only help solve dietary deficiencies and possibly protect against a number of health problems, but they can help manage your stress, improve your mood, and your sexual performance, too.
In fact, pumpkin seeds have been shown to improve heart health, blood sugar levels, fertility and sleep quality. They may even protect against certain types of cancer.
In addition, their rich nutrient content may provide other health benefits, such as improved energy, mood and immune function.
What’s best, they can easily be added to your diet, allowing you to reap their many positive effects.