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Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits

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Pumpkin Seeds Health Benefits and Nutritional Info

 

Medicinal Properties  

The Styrian pumpkin itself is not used as a food item.  It was, if at all, considered suitable for animals only. The vegetable part of its fruit was never a favored over pumpkin varieties that produce more and better fruit pulp than the Styrian pumpkin.  However, the seeds of this pumpkin have been used for ages as “snack food” especially in the Mediterranean area with the known “side effect” of easing and preventing bladder and prostate problems.  This effect makes the Styrian pumpkin seeds so valuable today, since the amount of this beneficial component is significantly higher than in any other variety.  The medicinal benefit is so extraordinary that this Styrian variety is grown for the seed's ingredients alone, hence only the seeds are harvested and the pumpkin pulp is discarded as “fertilizer” on the field.  

The specific components are known to prevent bladder and prostate problems, even to shrink enlarged prostrate glands in early stages.  Small amounts are needed.  Pharmaceutical capsules contain only minuscule amounts (e.g.5000ng = 5g) of pumpkin seed oil.  Chewing a handful of seeds every other day can easily give a similarly sufficient preventive supply.  Pumpkin seed oil is most commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome.  Small studies have shown that pumpkin seeds, which contain amino acids, steroidal compounds, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, may lower the risks of certain types of kidney stones and improve symptoms associated with enlarged prostates.  Additionally, pumpkin seeds contain significant amounts of tryptophan and lysine.  Some studies have found pumpkin seeds to prevent arteriosclerosis and regulate cholesterol levels.  Pumpkin seed oil, commonly prescribed in German folk medicine, remedies parasitic infestations of the intestinal tract such as tapeworms.

Styrian pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and essential fatty acids.  For centuries, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have been used as a natural remedy for irritation of the bladder and the kidneys.  Now considered a “SUPERFOOD”, the active ingredients in pumpkin seeds normalize and strengthen the musculature of the bladder and have a positive and prophylactic effect on benign prostate growths in the first and second stages.

Styrian Pumpkin Seed oil, when compared to other oils studied, shows the highest antioxidation effect according to Albin Hermrtler from the research center “Institute of Biochemistry” Gaz University of Technology in Austria...see excerpts attached.  In a study made in 1979 by a group of Viennese doctors, the goal of the study was to determine whether pumpkin seed granules would contribute to the conditions of 101 men.  During the 8 weeks, the subjects took a tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds produced from the Styrian Pumpkin Seed.  Not only was the size of the prostate significantly reduced but the unpleasantness in voiding the bladder was remarkably reduced and in some cases eliminated altogether.  

 

CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING EFFECTS

Many plant-derived homologs of cholesterol (phytosterols and phytostanols) have been reported to have a cholesterol-lowering effect.  Several studies have investigated the cholesterol-lowering mechanisms of phytosterols, which were reviewed only recently.  Dietary uptake of phytosterols appears to be as important in cholesterol-lowering as reduction in consumption of saturated fats.  Since phytosterols are in the seeds of the hulless pumpkin seed, as well as, in the corresponding pumpkin seed oil, it can be speculated that these components together with the high content of linoleic acid can exert beneficial health effects in lipid-associated disorders like atherosclerosis.  


BENIGN PROSTRATE HYPERPLASIA

Urinary incontinency is an age-related disorder of various origins that may affect both human genders.  For example, male patients with prostate hyperplasia (BHP) frequently suffer from overflow incontinence, while women are more likely to develop symptoms of stress incontinence, especially in post-menopausal ages. These two forms of incontinence generally are in both genders due to changes in the hormonal equilibrium between androgens and estrogens.  Polar extracts of these Hulless Pumpkin seeds might exert physiologically relevant effects on this level.  It is known that these extracts inhibit aromatase, the key enzyme of estrogen biosynthesis, which converts testosterone into estradiol.

These oil pumpkin seed extracts are considered important phytotherapeutical agents for the treatment of BHP and have been used in the treatment of symptomatic micturition disorders.  

The seeds of this Hull-less oil pumpkin contain considerable amounts of 7-phytosterols, either in free form or bound to sugar molecules.  A lipid-steroidal extract of hull-less seeds was also found to have an inhibitory effect on 5-reductase in cultured human prostate fibroblasts.  Furthermore, the same authors reported on an anti-inflammatory effect of this extract in carrageenin- or destran-induced edema models.  In a human trial, it was found that intake of a whole extract of this hull-less oil pumpkin seeds correlated with reduced BHP-associated symptoms.  (Schilcher et al.) Reported that orally administered 7-phytosterol-rich Curcubita pepo seeds (3-4 days before prostatectomy) decreased the amount of dihydrotestosterone in prostate tissue of patients.

Recent studies found that 5-phytosterols and phytostanois in free form are not efficiently absorbed in the human gastrointestinal tract.  However, it is very important to emphasize that 7-phytosterols in hull-less oil pumpkin seeds are also esterified to various sugar molecules, which could improve their bioavailability.  

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