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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life Saving Pumpkin Seeds | දිවි දිගු කරන වට්ටක්කා ඇට

In this day and age, many Sri Lankans are facing more and more health problems. Amidst this, high cholesterol levels are a priority problem amongst the South Asian population. The type of food consumed plays a vital role in determining ones low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). As you know, high LDL levels are known to cause coronary heart disease ,while HDL prevents it; hence the recommended diet constitutes  with low LDL and high HDL.

Fat is a concentrated source of energy. Dietary fat is in the form of triglycerides, consisting of three fatty acids and one glycerol unit. Fatty acids can be classified into saturated (known as “bad fat”) and unsaturated fat (known as “relatively good fat”). High levels of saturated fatty acid consumption can give rise to high LDL levels, whereas unsaturated fatty acid consumption can give rise to high HDL levels in the body. Unsaturated fatty acids can be categorised in to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). MUFA contains one double bond between the carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain, whereas PUFA contains more than one double bond. PUFA can be further classified as omega-3 (EPA, DHA and DPA) and omega-6 (AA and GLA).Some  omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are called ‘essential fatty acids’ as they cannot be synthesised in the body, thus can only be provided from the diet.

Sources of omega-6 include soybean, corn oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, organ meats and egg yolk. Sources of omega-3 include canola oil, nuts and seeds, fish oils, oily fish (canned tuna, mackerel and sardines). Sources of MUFA include various nuts and seeds. Around 10 cashew nuts will suffice for your recommended daily intake of MUFA.

Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of MUFA and PUFA. The composition of pumpkin seeds can be seen below:

Total Fat

46.7 %
PUFA 70%

Alpha linolenic acid
47 %
Linoleic acid
23.4 %
MUFA 30%

-9 fatty acid
15.9 %
- 6 fatty acid
4.2 %

Some consume supplements("fish oil capsules") to gain their recommended daily intake of omega-3 and -6. However, consuming pumpkin instead is not a difficult task. After cooking pumpkin, instead of throwing the seeds away; wash them and dry it in the sun/roast it in the oven in low heat. You may consume it with, or without the coat (coat contains fibre), but do not add salt. Pumpkin seeds are sold around the world and can be found in shops in Sri Lanka too. However, preparing pumpkin seeds at home is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your HDL levels and dodge high cholesterol.

Written by Chavindi Uduwaka

For the Sinhalese version of this article Click Here | ๧මම ල๢ප๢๧ය๞ ස๢๜හල ප໱ව໮තනය සඳහ๟ ๧මත๠නට යන๞න. 


  1. Good post with very interesting facts, keep on posting good stuff like this

  2. from where can we buy pumpkin seeds....

  3. 5th July, 2012.

    As I understand there appears to be a very unsatisfactory situation with regard to the intake of Omega 3 by the majority of Sri Lankans. It is explained below.

    As you state Omega 3 and 6 have to be taken through the daily diet and “some” Omega 3 & 6 are stated to be “essential fatty acids”(efa). Are the sources of “some” efa the same as what have been mentioned, canola oil, nuts and seeds, fish oils, oily fish for Omega 3 and soybean, corn oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, organ meats and egg yolk for Omega 6?.

    Which is more important, Omega 3 or 6 or else what is the correct balance of these two, for the purpose of good health, meaning feel physically fit, less illnesses and intake of reduced medicines or drugs?. I ask this as Govt. hospitals are over crowded with people who are ill. And they are mostly the poor people. I am not concerned with the private hospitals been crowded as they are mostly rich people.

    I note that the sources of Omega 3 are higher in price than those of Omega 6. Fish oil for instance may not be accepted by vegetarians. In any case fish oil or the fish oil capsules are very expensive (very recently what is available had gone up in price by over Rs. 300/- per 60 capsules) and absolutely beyond the ability for poor people to take. Therefore, the only chance of the majority of Sri Lankans being able to take their daily requirement of Omega 3 appears to be a farfetched idea.

    What is the solution for this sad situation?. Have all the poor people SL, the majority, have to be satisfied with a low or zero intake of Omega 3, assuming that they will be able to at least take the requirement of Omega 6 from sources which are less expensive or can even be produced in their backyards?.

  4. Thank you for publishing my comment. What I prefer is an answer or reply from the Nutrition Dept. of the MRI or any other person who has an interest in this subject.

  5. Where do i buy pumpkin seeds


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