The Most Wonderful Seeds of All
Botanical name: Pumpkin seeds
The Most Wonderful Seeds of All… Pumpkin Seeds!
You most have heard of pumpkin seeds in the past. Whether it is during Halloween when you carve a pumpkin, or in some foods. But have you heard about their amazing benefits over our health?
If you have tried pumpkin seeds—or pepitas as they are called in Spain—then you know that they are delicious. These seeds can be prepared in many culinary dishes. However, what most people tend to forget, or ignore, is that they are also full of nutrients that aid your body.
What Are These Wonderful Seeds Anyways?
As the name implies, pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds of the pumpkin or squash. These seeds are usually oval and green, but they may have a white shell. While you may find these seeds raw, they are usually shelled, roasted, and salted when sold for consumption.
Why Should I Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
While pumpkin seeds can be considered high in calories, they are also extremely high in nutrients your body needs. Here is the breakdown of what you’ll find in 100 grams of pumpkin seeds:
- 574 calories
- 15 g of carbohydrates
- 1.3 g of sugar
- 6.5 g of fiber
- 49 g of fat
- 8.5 g of saturated fat
- 15.7 of monounsaturated fat
- 29.8 g of protein
However, the highest benefit of these seeds is the amount of vitamins and minerals they have:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
The highest count is probably calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are essential to our health.
And What Do These Seeds Do To My Health?
Because of their high vitamin and mineral content, pumpkin seeds contribute to several aspects of our health. They are extremely nutritious too, which is why they are often recommended as a snack since they fill up quite well, but are also high in protein.
Aside from being a good alternative snack, pumpkin seeds have the following health benefits:
- Diabetes: recently, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extract, and pumpkin seed oil have been used to improve insulin regulation, while protecting the kidneys.
- Blood Pressure: the high amount of magnesium in pumpkin seeds helps your body lower blood pressure and regulates your blood vessels, which means lower risk of heart attack, and stroke.
- Immune Support: because pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, your immune system will gain a boost. Zinc helps your body in many ways, such as cell growth and division, sleep, and mood. A zinc deficiency often results in getting a cold or flu.
- Arthritis: pumpkin seeds are known to be anti-inflammatory; consuming them reduces joint pain and provides better movement in people suffering from arthritis.
- Bone Health: as with blood pressure, magnesium is really good at making your bones stronger. This is specially the case in women and particularly those experiencing symptoms of pre-menopause.
- Prostate Health: pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil supports prostate health and is very effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. The compounds found in these seeds known as phytosterols, are helpful in shrinking the prostrate and aid in preventing the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
- Cancer: those who consume larger amounts of pumpkin seeds have a lower incidence of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer. The fighting agents in pumpkin seeds seem to be the lignans they contain—these are chemicals only found in plants.
- Digestive System: the large amount of fiber found in pumpkin seeds promotes good digestive health and can help those suffering from constipation.
- Anti-microbial: pumpkin seeds have been used lately to eliminate microbes and parasites. These seeds also prevent yeast overgrowth and other symptoms caused by microbes.
Do These Seeds Help My Cognitive Health Too?
Yes, these seeds have powerful components that not only benefit your body, but they certainly benefit your brain. Here’s how they can help you gain some much-needed cognitive wellbeing:
- Sleep: because they are a natural source of amino acid tryptophan, these seeds promote sleep. Just 1 gram of pumpkin seeds per day helps you have a healthier sleeping cycle. Tryptophan also promotes production of serotonin, which is then transformed into melatonin.
- Mood: just like in sleep, tryptophan regulates mood naturally by inducing serotonin production. Through sleep regulation, mood is also improved.
- Brain Power: eating just a handful of pumpkin seeds gives you the necessary amount of zinc to boost your memory and focus. Zinc is essential in creating good communication between cognition and memory.
- Stress: pumpkin seeds fight stress and help you relax because of the amount of amino acid glutamate they contain, which is necessary in the synthesis of the “anti-stress” neurochemical y-amino butyric acid (GABA).
- Calmness: having good magnesium levels provides not only better sleep, but also a better sense of calmness. Pumpkin seeds have high magnesium content, allowing a better sense of response to situations of stress.
How To Eat Pumpkin Seeds
You can consume both shelled and unshelled pumpkin seeds. Consuming whole pumpkin seeds means a lower calorie count as well as more fiber. Shelled pumpkin seeds usually come roasted and have a higher count of carbohydrates.
To roast your own seeds, separate from the pumpkin pulp, and then boil them in water for 5-10 minutes, drain them and add some oil. Bake them at 350F for another 8-10 minutes.
Roasted seeds can be used in almost every way, or as a snack. Whole seeds are harder to chew, but they are the most nutritious and beneficial.
Nowadays, you can also find pumpkin seed oil to use with cooking or on its own as a natural remedy.
Let’s Get Carving!
Cooking your own pumpkin seeds isn’t just a Halloween season affair; you should do it as often as possible as these are a lot more than just a snack. If you want to improve your general health, eat these once a day and you will notice you’ll be in a better mood, you’ll have more energy, get less sick and you will sleep regularly.
Don’t forget you can try these seeds in oil form too, in case the taste is too strong for you, but you certainly don’t want to miss these wonderful seeds!