Men’s health problems range from chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, to wellness issues like fitness and weight control. Around 30 per cent men in their 40s and over 50 per cent men in their 60s suffer from prostate problems. The prostate gland (also known as a man’s second heart) works towards serving some essential functions. These include controlling the flow of urine and production of semen.
With age, the gland may begin to grow. However, the growth in itself is harmless and is called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Excessive enlargement of the prostate gland has symptoms like urgency and incontinence of urine, pain or burning during urination, repeated urinary tract infection, frequent desire for urination etc.
While there are many medical ways to treat this condition, pumpkin seeds are shown to be very helpful. Eating raw pumpkin seeds helps prevent prostate trouble. These seeds contain plant chemicals that prevent the body from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which helps produce prostate cells.
Raw pumpkin seeds are loaded with nutrients like iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, protein, essential fatty acids and phytosterols. They also contain carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc. An intake of around 60 mg of zinc per day is recommended for improving prostate health. They also contain beta-sitosterol, which blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, (responsible for enlargement of the prostate). Phytosterols also reduce cholesterol levels.
Pumpkin seeds are usually eaten raw, roasted or blended with other seeds. Add pumpkin seeds to your diet by grinding them like flax seeds and sprinkling them on salads, porridge or garnishing for soup. A handful of seeds, when mixed with nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds, make a great snack. The recommended daily dosage is about ten grams of whole or coarsely ground seeds.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of HealthTotal, a nutrition counselling centre.