As we say goodbye to October and all it’s beauty, be sure to hang on to those pumpkins that you forgotten to gut and carve-maybe even rescue a few that haven’t been sold?! Why you might ask. Well first off, even though we are headed into the Christmas season, the ‘all things pumpkin spice’ train is still traveling through this month and second, you have some nutrient gold sitting out at your front door….pumpkin seeds!
Now that we are heading into November, a month that is bringing more awareness to the effects cancer has on all the men in our lives, I wanted to do a post that could provide a bit of info on prostate cancer prevention because my motto is “prevention is key and knowledge is what puts that key into your hand”.
One particular food that kept coming up as I was doing research was pumpkin seeds. There’s a powerhouse of nutrients packed into these little seeds! The majority of these nutrients have a role in protecting against cancer.
Most of us have heard the word antioxidants floating around, some might not know what it is that they do or what nutrients belong to the antioxidant family but they know they need them in their diets. In a nut shell, no pun intended 🙂 antioxidants help to fight free radicals from wreaking havoc in our bodies. Free radicals are an atom or molecule with an uneven number of electrons in its valence shell. These molecules are unstable and roam around destroying our healthy cells in their quest to find another electron. Antioxidants come in and neutralize the destructive molecule by giving it the electron it needs. Our bodies naturally produce free radicals just by functioning. The problem lies when we are producing too many and end up being left unchecked. Too much cell damage leads to many diseases, especially cancer.
How to Avoid Free Radicals
*Avoid cigarette smoke
* Avoid or try to limit chemicals and toxins in your diet and environment ( buy locally grown organic produce, start substituting your personal care products and house hold cleaners with natural ones).
*Eating a healthy diet, one that includes a variety of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds- these are all loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidants That Fight Prostate Cancer In More Ways Than One
*Boosts testosterone levels
*Can aid in shrinking an already enlarged prostate by getting rid of excess DHT (dihydrotestosterone)
* Combination of E & selenium have been found to significantly lower the incidences of prostate cancer in men. Selenium also increases vitamin E absorption
Like all the other plant foods, pumpkin seeds also contain phytochemicals or phytonutrients. Phytochemicals are a natural compound found in plants. These compounds help the plant to fight off disease. They also help us by working with our body to protect it against disease. There are different classes of phytochemicals in the plant kingdom, each having a unique part in the fight against disease which is why it’s important to eat many different varieties of plant foods.
Pumpkin seeds have a mild flavor and can be added into your bowl of oatmeal for a bit of crunch or added to your smoothies like some of these green smoothies!
Murray, Michael. N.D. and Pizzorno, Joseph. N.D. with Pizzorno, Lara. M.A, L.M.T. Encyclopedia of Healing foods
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness
Haas M. Elson, M.D. with Levin, Buck, PhD, RD Staying Healthy With Nutrition, The complete Guide to Diet And Nutritional Medicine. 21st Century Edition