The Untold Super Food: Pumpkin Seeds by Eric Cebellos
The most un-talked about SUPER food is pumpkin seeds. The little seed packs are jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Now, about three months ago I started to incorporate pumpkin seeds into my diet, my friend brought them over to my house and I immediately fell in love with them. At the time, I was on a bulk so incoming calories had no effect on me, meaning there was no need to know how many calories I was eating. I was basically consuming anything I wanted (nothing artificial). I would eat pumpkin seeds before and after bed and in about a month, I noticed my quality of sleep increased and my strength sky rocketed. Of course, by being in a caloric surplus you are bound to lift more weight; however, even though I have been through this bulk and cut cycle many times, this time it was different. I thought about what I was doing differently and decided to research into pumpkin seeds- the results were astonishing. This multitalented food had health benefits I could only dream of. Adding pumpkin seeds to your diet could support new muscle growth, fight off dangerous free radical in the body and also boost testosterone. Let’s dive into pumpkin seeds and how it can improve the quality of your life.
Before we break down the nutrients lets discuss the macros, so per 64grams (1/2 cup):
30 grams of fat
7 grams of carbs
20 grams of protein
I usually eat a half cup right before bed. Pumpkin seeds are extremely low glycemic, meaning the process at which it breaks down in my body is extremely slow; so it leaves me full all night.
Antioxidants are basically what protect our body from chemical destruction, this destruction also known as free radicals are highly radioactive molecules that attack the cell membrane and break it down causing a whole series of problems. Antioxidants swoop in a save the day by blocking the free radicals from the cell membrane. Now pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants, however “it's the diversity of antioxidants in pumpkin seeds that makes them unique in their antioxidant support. Pumpkin seeds contain conventional antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E. However, not only do they contain vitamin E, but they contain it in a wide variety of forms. Alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol and gamma-tocomonoenol are all forms of vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds.” (Mateljan) These different forms of vitamin E are rarely found in other foods so consuming pumpkin seeds diversifies your antioxidant intake. Antioxidants are vital for heart health and lowering risk of infections.
Minerals and Testosterone
Pumpkin seeds are the fourth richest food in zinc. Followed by beef, lamb and sesame seeds. Zinc is extremely important for a variety of daily functions and even the slightest zinc deficiency can lead to many health problems; the most prominent is immunity followed by reproduction, vision and skin care. “Advanced deficiency of zinc can impair motility and number of sperm. In one study, young male volunteers ate a diet with only 10% of the Daily Value requirement (15 milligrams) for a little over a month. Researchers measured sperm quality and quantity before and after the zinc-deficient diet.” (Mateljan) A different study showed men who supplemented 30mg of zinc daily to have an increase of free testosterone in their bodies. However, “Another study demonstrated that using a zinc supplement won’t raise your testosterone levels if you’re already getting enough of the mineral.”(Ellis) That being said It can’t hurt to make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet by incorporating pumpkin seeds. From personal experience, I did feel adding this unique food to my diet increased my testosterone levels slightly, could possibly just be a placebo but other than test boost pumpkin seed prove to have a variety of benefits.
Magnesium- Pumpkin seeds loaded with this regulating nutrient. are Magnesium “maintains normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong.” (Magnesium) Due to intense training many bodybuilders and athletes do not get enough magnesium in their diet leaving them feeling fatigued, having muscle cramps and more.
Leucine- This amino acid has been linked to increasing testosterone levels and Is a very popular supplement some athletes use to enhance endurance. Along with increased endurance, Leucine improves fat oxidation, which is also known as fat loss.
Protein- The protein content in pumpkin seeds is fantastic, way more than any other seed or nut (per serving). 10 grams for only 1/4thcup. Adding pumpkin seeds is a great way to increase protein intake.
Pumpkin seeds are a versatile food and can benefit your health and also your physique. You can pick them up basically at any local health food store. I stick with un shelled organic pumpkin seeds because I it is much more convenient than breaking the outer shell. Over all, incorporating pumpkin seeds will add a different variation of antioxidants that your body might not be used to. Also, the benefits from zinc, magnesium and leucine prove it to be a staple in a athletes diet.