Pumpkins are delicious as food and not just for decorations at holiday gatherings. When you’re opening up that pumpkin, remember to save the seeds. Wash them from the stringy pulp in a strainer and let them dry overnight. Then just pour some olive or avocado oil in a baking pan, spread the dried seeds, shake on some sea salt or nutritional yeast if desired, and bake at a low temperature (325 degrees) for about 15 minutes or so. Check often and shake the pan so the seeds don’t burn. Pure heaven.
Here are 10 amazing health benefits for pumpkin seeds:
1. One quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contain nearly half the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which is a key mineral for your body’s physiological functions: the creation of energy molecules for your body, the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
2. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral) which is important for immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your sense of smell and taste, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
3. Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant based omega-3s (alapha linoleic acid – ALA). We all need ALA, but ALA has to be converted by your body into the more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA by an enzyme in which according to Dr Mercola, the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So he says, it’s a really good idea to get your omega 3s from animals sources. He recommends krill oil and I recommend a marine algae source from Life Extension (the Research and Development organization). This marine algae source is vegetarian and vegan approved.
4. Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important holistic food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health.
5. People who eat foods high in pumpkin seeds have been found to have a lower risk of gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, while anti-carcinogenic effects have been found in pumpkin seed oil.
6. Animal studies (which I don’t approve) suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.
7. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains, and other menopausal symptoms in post menopausal women.
8. Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, fibers, and may provide benefits for the heart, and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.
9. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonim, known as the “sleep hormone”. Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed along with a carbohydrate (a small piece of fruit) may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonim and serotonin production to help promote a restful nights sleep.
10. Pumpkin Seed Oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One study found it worked as well as an anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without side effects.
How do you enjoy your pumpkin or squash seeds? What’s your favorite recipe?