Tagged in: protein

Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds You Never Knew

While most people only think of pumpkins for Thanksgiving or Halloween, the seeds of this powerhouse of a fruit offer a unique cocktail of health-enhancing and disease-fighting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. While emerging evidence reveals its miraculous potency in battling heart disease, anxiety, arthritis, bladder dysfunction, and osteoporosis, pumpkin seeds have long been used in many cultures for their medicinal properties for centuries.
 
Some Interesting Trivia
 

    • The earliest known evidence of domestic use of pumpkin seeds dates back to 7000 B.C in Mexico.
    • Pumpkin seeds were first embraced by Native Americans for their miraculous properties before the knowledge of its use was spread to Europe.
    • There is proof of usage of pumpkin seeds in Greek societies.
    • Pumpkin seeds are among the few foods whose nutritive value improves with age. Tests conducted at the Massachusetts Experimental Station reveal that pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months show a marked increase in protein content.
    • Today pumpkin seeds, called pepitas by Mexicans, are a basic ingredient in Mexican dishes.
    • In Russia and Ukraine, pumpkin seeds are a popular snack. If you crave to binge next time, pumpkin seeds are the right option!

 
Nutritional Facts And Health Benefits
 

  1. Bone Protection

 
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, iron, and copper, thus optimizing bone health. By consuming these magical seeds, it helps prevent osteoporosis.
 
pumpkin_seeds_salad 

  1. Battling Heart Disease

 
Rich in phytosterols, pumpkin seeds are very effective in thwarting heart diseases by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Containing magnesium, pumpkin seeds benefit blood pressure and help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
 

  1. Tryptophan For Restful Sleep

 
Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid, known as tryptophan, which is a natural sleep inducer. Since carbohydrates increase the bioavailability of tryptophan to the brain, try combining pumpkin seeds with your favorite cereal or a peanut butter sandwich and enjoy a pleasant rest if you have trouble sleeping at night.
 

  1. Improving Bladder Function

 
Among its multitude of health benefits, pumpkin seeds possess the unique ability to improve prostrate health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostrate health, and also because pumpkin seed extract and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostrate.
 

  1. Antimicrobial Benefits

 
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued for their anti-microbial benefits including anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. They have even shown to eliminate seriously dangerous microbes from the body including parasites like tapeworms. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds may contribute to preventing yeast overgrowth and yeast infections.
 

  1. Easing Arthritis

 
It has powerful antioxidant properties which are supplemental in reducing arthritis induced inflammation.
 
pumpkin_seeds2 

  1. Acting As Protein bombs

 
Pumpkin seeds are a great alternative to boost your protein intake without resorting to red meat.
 

  1. Chock-full Of Antioxidants

 
Pumpkin seeds are unique in their abundance of vitamin E, phenolic acids, and antioxidant phytonutrients. The diverse mixture of these compounds in pumpkin seeds may provide them with anti-oxidant related properties that are rarely found in food.
 
Ways To Enjoy Pumpkin Seeds
 

  • Add pumpkin seeds to sautéed vegetables, soups, meatloaf, and stew.
  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of green salads.
  • Enjoy chopped pumpkin seeds by adding them to your favorite cereal.
  • Bake them in the oven and enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds as a snack.

 

Whether you’re growing an 1800 pound whopper, or you’re reaching for your second serving of pumpkin pie, or if you’re enjoying the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits from this miraculous alkaline squash, you’re in for a powerful health punch offering protection against common health problems.

 

Popcorn vs. Chips: Which One’s Healthier?

Our craving for snacks can sometimes be worse at work than at home, leading us to gobble down snacks without considering their nutritional value. Add to that the sedentary nature of some jobs and the risks of having snacks in the workplace go way higher.
 
So, what if we can’t live without snacks? Next time, you feel like munching on something at your desk, try replacing your bag of potato chips with popcorn instead. Need to know why? Read on to find out.
 
Higher Protein Content
 
An ounce of regular potato chips has 1.8 grams of protein and a total of 152 calories. In contrast, an ounce of popcorn has 3.6 grams of protein and a total of 128 calories. Air-popped popcorn is the best. Popping it in oil or microwaving it, however, raises the calorie count of the popcorn.
 
Great With Your Weight-Loss Plan!
 
weight_loss 

If you’re on a weight loss plan, popcorn seems to be the perfect snack to have at the workplace. A cup of air-popped popcorn only has 31 calories. Now you can munch away guilt-free at work without putting on any extra weight!
 
Healthy Whole Grains
 

A whole grain such as popcorn is a good source of dietary fiber. Grains are also rich in antioxidants, as much as fruits and vegetables. According to a 2012 study conducted at the University of Scranton, one serving of popcorn provides a greater quantity of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, than a serving of fruits or sweet corn.
 
A Versatile Snack
 
flavoured_popcorn 

Want to spice it up? Then have it your way! And if you want the snack to be a bit more filling, you can also add butter to popcorn. A versatile snack such as popcorn can be had in many ways, according to your taste. So even if you’re bored of eating the same lunch at work everyday, it’s time to treat yourself with something different. How about trying a new flavor of popcorn?
 
Satiates Hunger
 

Air-popped popcorn, as the name suggests, is mostly air and hence it is highly effective in making you feel full. You can have it in between meals to keep you from binge eating. A study published in 2012 in the ‘Nutrition Journal’ noted that 6 cups of popcorn has less calories than a cup of chips.
 
Gluten Free
 
Popcorn is gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and processed foods. Processed foods, containing gluten include snacks such as potato chips, pretzels or tortilla chips. Gluten can cause health problems for people with wheat allergy.
 
Since popcorn does not have gluten, it’s a better snack to have at work.
 
You can even use it in place of croutons in salad. You can also substitute breadcrumbs in fried products with finely ground popcorn just to make your lunch ideas more interesting. Oh, the versatility!
 
An Inexpensive Snack
 
popcorn 

Last but not the least; popcorn is one of the least expensive snacks available, coming in at just 19 cents an ounce.
 
What’s Next?
 
With so many ways to have popcorn, without compromising your diet, popcorn is definitely the better choice versus potato chips. So, the next time you feel boredom at work or at home, grab a cup of popcorn and forget your worries!

 

 

6 Nutrients You MUST Have If You Are A Vegetarian

A lot of people might argue that vegetarians do not intake adequate nutrients as they skip meat from their diet. However, the reason for not having sufficient nutrients may have nothing to do with meat consumption. One can have no meat yet still consume a huge amount of fat and carbohydrates in their daily routine which may lead to several health problems.
 
Being a vegetarian is a healthy lifestyle. However, while adapting this, you need to ensure that your diet is balanced with the proper intake of proteins, carbs, fats, and other essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, B12, and calcium as they are vital building blocks in your body. The challenge here is that these nutrients are found in meat, fish and poultry.
 
For vegetarians, we have compiled a list of all vegetarian food items you can consume to enjoy a balanced diet. The following food items are packed with nutrients and are a delicious treat for the taste buds too!
 
Protein
 
proteins 

Nutrients in protein-rich foods help build bones, muscles, skin, and keeps our blood healthy. On average, women require 45 grams of protein while men require 55 grams of protein in their daily diet. As a vegetarian, you can meet the protein requirement of your body via the following food items.
 

  • Raw milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Free range eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans, lentils, peas and legumes,
  • Fermented soy products in the form of miso, natto and tempeh
  • Non-dairy nut and seed milks

 
It is highly advisable for vegetarians to stay away from pseudo-meats or any other pretend protein foods because they are highly processed and contain a high amount of phytic acid.
 
Iron and Zinc
 
beans_iron_zinc 

These two nutrients are the essential metals which are highly required for the proper functionality of your body. Interestingly, iron and zinc are found in vegetarian diets. On average, women (aged 19-50 years) require 18mg, women (aged 51+ years) require 8mg and adult males require 8mg of iron in their daily diet.
 
Since zinc is not naturally stored in the human body, it is vital to have the recommended intake of this powerful nutrient on a daily basis. In addition, zinc contributes to the strengthening of immune system, wound healing, cellular metabolism, DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and cell division. On average, adult women require 8 mg and adult men 11 mg of Zinc in their daily diets.
 
Furthermore, iron and zinc can be found in the following list of food items:
 

  • Nuts and seeds like cashews and almonds
  • Beans, lentils, peas, and legumes (in cooked and sprouted form)
  • Green, leafy vegetables like collards, spinach, broccoli, kale, and cabbage
  • Whole grains and whole grain flours
  • Fruits and dried fruits like dates, raisins and apricots

 
Calcium
 
dairy_calcium 

Strong bones and teeth depend heavily on the level of calcium in your body. It is essential for an adult to consume 1000-1200mg of calcium daily. You can include the following calcium-rich food items in your diet:
 

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Sea vegetables such as dulse, hijiki, kelp, arame, and wakame
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage

 
Vitamin B12
 
b12 

A lot of vegetarians do not prefer to eat eggs. However, this can lead to the deficiency of vitamin B12. If you consider yourself in the similar category of vegetarians, then you can go for B-complex supplements. An adult requires daily intake of 1.5 gms of vitamin B12, so make sure you choose the intake accordingly.
 
Essential Fatty Acids
 
To absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, your body requires healthy fats to boost energy, maintain good heart health, and regulate cholesterol. These beneficial fats are found in foods containing fatty acids. However, since vegetarian diets lack saturated fats, fatty acids can be obtained from a very limited amount of food items. An ideal way to obtain essential fatty acids is to consume these foods:
 

  • Raw butter and clarified butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts