Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

So, it’s that time of year that we see pumpkins everywhere so don’t toss those uber healthy seeds in the trash.

Pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, phytonutrients, healthy fats and antioxidants.  Here are some reasons you should include them in your diet:

  1. A great source of zinc.  Zinc is beneficial for immune health, insulin regulation, sleep, cell growth and division, and mood.  The zinc in pumpkin seeds may also help with sperm quality and fertility in men.  Deficiencies are associated with depression, increased cold and flu, chronic fatigue and acne.
  2. One of the best natural sources of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is very common in adults and it is necessary for a variety of chemical reactions in the body.  It is important for blood pressure, heart health, bone health and blood sugar levels.
  3. Heart health. Pumpkin seeds can help reduce your blood pressure and increase your good cholesterol.
  4. Great source of dietary fiber. Of course, you will get more fiber (and zinc) if you eat the seed and the shell but if the shell is removed you will still get some health benefits.  Diets high in fiber are associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
  5. Improved sleep. These little seeds are also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that help promote sleep (just like turkey).  It is a good idea to eat some before you go to bed.
  6. They are anti-inflammatory. They are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3’s that are helpful in reducing inflammation.

If you are ready to experience the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, they’re easy to incorporate.

Since they are very portable you can take them with you as a snack either raw or roasted.  If you would like to roast your own I recommend roasting them on low heat 170 degrees F for 15- 20 minutes sprinkled with natural salt.  Studies have shown that roasting longer than 20 minutes can change the fat profile of the seed and reduce its health benefits.

Pumpkin seeds can also be added to smoothies, Greek yogurt, salads, sautéed vegetables, soups, or cereals.