Well, if you haven’t already, you may be carving a pumpkin soon, ‘tis the season! What to do with all those pumpkin seeds? Dry them or roast them, they make a great snack! If that sounds like a big mess and a lot of work, you can easily find shelled pumpkin seeds all year round at your local grocery store or health food store. So, what benefits do we get from the seeds?
Like many nuts and seeds, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seeds, are a great source of protein, fiber and good fats (the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated kinds). In addition to this, they boast a variety of vitamins and minerals including some B vitamins and folate, magnesium, iron and selenium. They are well known for their zinc content which makes them popular for use in men’s health, specifically prostate health. But zinc isn’t just good for the prostate! It is also beneficial to many other body functions, including immune health, so everyone can benefit!
It has been suggested that pumpkin seeds can help to improve sleep since they contain tryptophan, that same substance that makes you sleepy after you’ve eaten turkey. Pumpkin seeds can also be helpful for balancing female hormones, especially in menopausal women, and can be used alongside flax, sunflower and sesame seeds to do so (ask an ND for more details). Several of the nutrients found in pumpkin seeds, including magnesium, good fats and fiber, also have benefits for heart health. They also have some anti-inflammatory properties which can make them useful in managing various types of inflammation. Two of their traditional medicinal uses were for the management of intestinal parasites and to reduce edema or water retention.
Talk to an ND to find out more and to learn how you can incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet and wellness plan.
Check out this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto!