Pepita is a Spanish culinary term for the pumpkin seed, the edible seed of a pumpkin or other cultivar of squash. The seeds are typically rather flat and asymmetrically oval, and light green in color inside a white hull. The word can refer either to the hulled kernel or unhulled whole seed, and most commonly refers to the roasted end product.The seeds are also good sources of protein, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. 25 grams of pepitas can provide over 20 percent of the recommended daily iron intake. Furthermore, just one-fourth cup of pepitas provides approximately 185 mg of magnesium, nearly 50% of the Recommended Daily Intake
One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and other diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.
Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s. We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA.
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health, and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia. Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds2 may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep.
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.
Read More at Wikipedia