Don’t be scared of Pumpkin Seeds

Nutritious Pumpkin Seeds give you reasons to smile

Considering that pumpkins are harvested in October, it makes perfect sense that they are a big part of the fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The tradition of carving Jack O’ Lanterns started hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Back in those days, Jack O’ Lanterns were carved out of potatoes and turnips. When the Irish immigrants made it over to America and discovered the pumpkin, they began carving Jack O’ Lanterns from pumpkins instead of potatoes and turnips, marking the beginning of this holiday tradition.

Pumpkins are anchored in our memories and childhood. Most of us remember growing up as kids and getting excited about carving our pumpkins for Halloween and eating pumpkin pie and other pumpkin goodness around the holidays. Not only do pumpkins hold a special place in holiday celebrations and traditions, they hold remarkable nutritional value and health benefits.

The pumpkin as a whole is considered a superfood, packed with nutrition. Every part of the pumpkin offers something beneficial and inspires new ways of consumption. You can utilize almost every part of the pumpkin, including the seeds. You can use the inside of the pumpkin (seeds included) for soups, baked goods, and savory dishes. Around the fall season, you begin to see all kinds of pumpkin offerings — from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ice cream.

Pumpkin seeds are fabulous to snack on. They’re also an excellent addition to salads, baked goods, and other dishes because they add flavor and texture. Pumpkin seeds are full of health benefits. They are incredibly nutrient dense.

Plant Based Protein: Great source of plant-based protein

Magnesium Source: Boost your magnesium; the body needs it to regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.

Potassium Source: Full of potassium that the body needs to support muscles contraction, controlling fluids, balancing minerals and maintain blood pressure.

Boost Immunity: Boost the immune system with high levels of zinc , which significantly aids the immune function.

Prostate Health: Research through the National Institutes of Health suggests that pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil may be beneficial in supporting prostate health. It was also mentioned in two separate articles published in 2006 editions of “Urologia Internationalis” and the “Journal of Medicinal Food,” Dr. Yuh-Shyan Tsai and M. Gossell-Williams, that pumpkin seeds have a protective compounds, phytosterols, which may shrink the prostate.

Mood Elevator: Shape Magazine reported that the L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds help improve mood and can help with treating depression. The L-tryptophan can also help encourage a good night’s sleep.

Medicinal Value: Research suggests that pumpkin seeds have DHEA (Di-hydro-epi-androstenedione) hormone blocking actions at the receptor levels. Experimental studies suggest that specific phytochemical compounds in pumpkin seed oil may play a role in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease).

The majority of the calories of Pumpkin Seeds come from good quality fats and protein. They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid, that help lower bad LDL.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in glutamate, known as an anti-stress neurochemical in the brain that helps reduce anxiety, nervousness, and irritability.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of B-complex group vitamins and vitamin E.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Now that you know the health benefits and nutrition facts of pumpkin seeds, you will have that much more motivation to incorporate them into your diet. Pumpkin seeds can be consumed either raw or roasted. From oatmeal, smoothies, toppings, granola bars, baked goods, salads, soups, whole grain dishes, vegetables, and more — there are multiple ways you can add pumpkin seeds to your diet!

Written by Lisa Saremi