Apart from zinc, manganese is another antioxidant mineral abundantly found in pumpkin seeds. Each serving of pumpkin seeds contains approximately 73.5% manganese.
Although antioxidants are commonly found among foods recommended by the World Health Organization, the diverse vitamin content of pumpkin seeds makes them a unique source of antioxidant. Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E are present in pumpkin seeds.
The nutritional benefits of alpha-tocomonoenol and gamma-tocomonoenol, the newly-discovered vitamin E forms in pumpkin seeds, are the current focus of vitamin E study because these might have greater bioavailability compared to other forms of vitamin E.
Apart from various vitamin E forms, various forms of phenolic acids, a family of antioxidants are also present in pumpkin seeds such as ferulic, coumaric, caffeic, and hydroxybenzoic phenolic acids. Phytonutrients that prevent oxidation such as lignans are also present in pumpkin seeds.
Because of the unique, diverse antioxidants present in pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds may be provided with antioxidant properties that are not found in most foods. For instance, pumpkin seeds extracts have shown to inhibit lipoxygenase or LOX which is a pro-oxidant enzyme. This effect has been linked to the unique, diverse antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds and not to a single family of antioxidants.
Since oxidative stress is a great risk factor of developing some types of cancer and pumpkin seeds have unique antioxidant structure, it is no wonder that there is strong evidence that pumpkin seeds consumption may help reduce the risk of developing cancer. However, instead of the antioxidants present in pumpkin seeds, lignans have been the focus of study of cancer risk reduction. The cancer types which have shown to be more closely related to pumpkin seeds consumption are prostate cancer and breast cancer.
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