Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disease that occurs due to an imbalance in hormones in women who have attained the age of adolescence. An irregular and undesirable excess secretion of male hormones in the female body is the primary cause behind the development of PCOS. One of its major symptoms is an irregularity in the menstrual cycle.
Unfortunately, it is incurable, and the only way it can be managed is by making lifestyle changes. And this is the most exciting part, with the inclusion of a few tiny pumpkin seeds in your diet, you can manage this disease even more effectively.
Yes, pumpkin seeds are edible and have been used by us humans in our diet since time immemorial. They taste sweet and nutty. Don’t judge them for their size; these little wonders hold much more nutrition than one can even think of. And with it, they bring numerous health benefits.
Health benefits of pumpkin seeds for women with PCOS:
- Helps in boosting body immunity
PCOS takes a toll on all aspects of health. Some immunity-boosting can go a long way in terms of preventative care!
Vitamin E and Zinc present in pumpkin seeds play a big role in boosting the immunity system and display antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. Whereas the antioxidants present help in fighting any damage to our healthy cells that can be caused by the free radicals that enter our body every day. This reduces the chance of catching common infections like cold and flu and also helps in recovering from them.
- Reduces insomnia and improves the quality of sleep
Women with PCOS often face problems with sleep. Amino acids present in pumpkin seeds, like Tryptophan, help in the secretion of serotonin, which further gets converted into melatonin – the hormone responsible for maintaining our sleep cycle. It is often advised to eat pumpkin seeds before bedtime because it positively affects the quality and duration of sleep.
- Helps in elevating mood by reducing depression and anxiety
With hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS, depression and anxiety are common stressors. Also, these two are some of the main contributors to insomnia. Magnesium and zinc help in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Helps in weight loss
Most PCOS patients face problems with obesity and an increase in weight. Reducing weight is one of the most effective ways of bringing PCOS under control.
The protein and fiber contained in pumpkin seeds help immensely in the weight reduction journey. Not only does it help burn body fat and gain muscles, but it also makes us feel less hungry and prevents us from going for that third serving!
- Increases fertility and therefore good for pregnancy
The deficiency of zinc in the diet can cause reduced immunity against uterine infections and also impact hormones related to childbirth. It can lead to problems like miscarriage or even premature birth. Zinc helps in the healthy growth of the baby and enables smooth pregnancy.
- Good for hair, skin, and bones
PCOS patients often find skin-related problems like acne and rashes. Nutrients present in pumpkin seeds make our skin soft and free from wrinkles, acne, and infections.
Pumpkin seeds contain various nutrients responsible for hair growth. These nutrients also keep the hair silky, shiny, and strong.
Pumpkin seeds have Vitamins C and E, cucurbitacin (an amino acid), Iron, L-lysine, and beta-sitosterol which are responsible for good scalp and hair health. A mixture of crushed pumpkin seeds and water can be directly applied to the scalp to provide proper nourishment to hair.
Magnesium helps in strengthening our bones and keeping them healthy. It has been observed that without proper magnesium content in the diet, calcium levels in the body fall too. Magnesium maintains a higher density of minerals in the bones and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis at later stages in life.
A few ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet:
Pumpkin seeds can make a unique addition to different foods and give them a touch of flavor and crunch to them. They can be eaten raw but they taste better when they are roasted. Here’s how you can incorporate them into various delicious dishes:
- Add them to drinks like smoothies and yogurt
- Can be added to fruit salads for extra crunch and garnishing
- Can be used as a baking ingredient for cakes, cookies, and energy bars
- Can be blended with ingredients used to make dips and pastes like hummus and sauce for pasta
- Can be sprinkled onto soups, cereals, chicken dishes, oatmeal, and puddings
As much as some refining makes it fun, women are advised to eat the plain variant as they retain most of the nutritional value compared to the other variants that have undergone processing.
Precaution to follow before consuming pumpkin seeds
As fruitful and nutritional as they are, pumpkin seeds are not meant to be eaten by everyone. Yes, the good it brings with it outweigh its bad, but one needs to keep these things in mind:
- It is not for patients who have been prescribed diuretic drugs. It can cause renal problems.
- It is not safe for consummation for children below a certain age. It can trigger stomach pain and other gastric problems in them.
- If you are already pregnant or breastfeeding, it is better advised that you consult your doctor about this.
- Some people, in rare cases, can be allergic to it.
- People with hypoglycemia and low blood pressure, and those who are taking medications for the same, are advised to avoid it.
It is therefore advised to consume pumpkin seeds in moderate quantities every day. Doctors usually advise eating only 10-15 grams or one spoonful of pumpkin seeds daily, and not more than that. Overeating can cause problems like bloating and gastric complications.
Now try them right away! Make way for a healthy lifestyle!
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