Don’t Toss Your Pumpkin Seeds! 6 Reasons They’re A Superfood & How To Use Them
Fall is officially here and with it comes cooler temperatures, cozy-chic sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. And because Halloween is coming, Daenerys outfits are quickly flying off store shelves as shoppers eagerly race to pick out *the* perfect costume. Of course, we can’t forget about fall’s annual rite of passage—a trip to the local pumpkin patch because it’s not officially Halloween until you’ve carved your first pumpkin.
In an effort to give your Jack-o’-Lantern a semi-symmetrical, ghoulish grin, prepare for messy fingers and the slimy pumpkin innards that will surely be plastered all over you, your kitchen counter, your floor, and anything remotely within arm’s length. As you’re left surveying the mess, and your beautifully carved masterpiece, you may be wondering what to do with all of the pumpkin leftovers. A delicious chocolate pumpkin pie is a great way to make use of the pumpkin’s stringy pulp, but a pumpkin’s seeds are also incredibly useful! Here are 6 science-backed reasons you should add these tasty seeds to your diet and a few tips on how to eat them! (Hint: delicious recipes ahead!)
Pumpkin Seeds Are Nutritional Powerhouses
Along with hemp, chia, and flax seeds, pumpkin seeds are another health-boosting super seed you should add to your diet, STAT. A 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds alone has 7 grams of protein and is an abundant source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. The same serving size also contains a substantial amount of the recommended daily values for magnesium, manganese, copper, fiber, iron, and zinc as well as a plethora of other key nutrients.
Pumpkin Seeds Have Many Health Benefits
If you suffer from the uncomfortable urges related to an overactive bladder, you can certainly find relief in the form of pumpkin seeds. Consuming pumpkin seed extract on a daily basis has been shown to provide immense relief from urinary disorders and can improve overall bladder function. The nutrients found in pumpkin seeds can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels—two important factors for reducing the risk of heart disease. Along with a healthy heart, pumpkin seeds promote a healthy liver, boost immune system functioning, and are natural protectors against osteoporosis. Studies show pumpkin seed oil also provides relief from postmenopausal symptoms such as headaches, hot flashes, and painful joints.
Pumpkin Seeds Help Prevent Inflammation
The many anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds can be attributed to several things—one of which is their high concentration of chlorophyll. Responsible for the green hue of shelled pumpkin seeds, chlorophyll is so exceptional because it helps cleanse the body, it heals wounds, and it successfully wards off nasty infections. Chlorophyll is also highly alkaline, which means that it helps the body reduce inflammation—especially in the joints. For this reason, pumpkin seeds have been known to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Simply massage pumpkin seed oil directly onto your painful joints for fast relief!
Pumpkin Seeds May Lower Risk Of Cancer
One of the most extraordinary benefits of consuming pumpkin seeds is the fact that they have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Studies show the fatty acids and phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds prevent the development of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds also work wonders for men suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) as they help shrink the size of enlarged prostates. Although more testing is needed, studies have shown that regularly eating the seeds may also inhibit the growth of various cancer cells and prevent the onslaught of lung, breast, colon, and stomach cancer.
Pumpkin Seeds Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—affects how the body processes and produces insulin. Amazingly, pumpkin seeds are able to prevent the development of the disease and can even remedy complications that arise following a positive diagnosis. The abundance of phytochemicals present in pumpkins, as well those found in their seeds, regulates blood sugar levels and effectively reduces the likelihood of them spiking.
Pumpkin Seeds Are Natural Sleep Aids
If you’re seeking a good night’s rest, ditch your sleeping pills and opt for a cup of pumpkin seeds instead! Through a major process of conversion, the body turns tryptophan (an essential amino acid found abundantly in pumpkin seeds) to serotonin (a major feel-good hormone), and then converts the serotonin to melatonin (a sleep controlling hormone). Along with a full night of beauty sleep, consuming pumpkin seeds can also reduce stress and anxiety as tryptophan is capable of regulating mood and balancing hormones.
Pumpkin Seeds Can Be Easily Added To Your Diet
Pumpkin seeds are an incredibly convenient—and undeniably healthy—snack and as long as you don’t suffer from a pumpkin seed allergy, they’re easy to incorporate into your current diet. Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) are also relatively inexpensive. Along with using the seeds from your carved pumpkin, you can also purchase them directly from your local food market.
In order to reap all of the nutritional benefits the seeds have to offer, it is best to consume them raw. If you’re looking for extra flavor, you can roast the seeds (shelled or unshelled) and add salt to taste. Pumpkin seeds can easily be added to smoothies, salads, and can even be served with a main course! Spice up your dinners with this delicious vegan gnocchi with pistachio pumpkin seed pesto!
Or try this mouthwatering pumpkin seed crusted tofu with roasted veggies and truffle oil! Bon Appétit!
What are your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds?
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