As well as being a delicious snack, pumpkin seeds (sometimes called ‘pepitas’) are packed full of a diverse range of minerals, nutrients and antioxidants not widely found in any other food. They have a sweet, nutty taste and can be eaten raw, shelled or roasted. Once you’ve discovered some of their health benefits, you’ll be keen to get some of these super-hero seeds into your diet!
Half a cup of pumpkin seeds contains 100% of the RDA of magnesium, which assists in a wide range of vital physiological functions including the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation plus relaxation of your blood vessels and bowel function.
Magnesium is also effective in lowering blood pressure, which can help prevent heart attack and stroke.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of Zinc which supports your body in many ways, including eye and skin health, sleep, mood, immunity and insulin regulation. A Zinc deficiency can lead to increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression and acne.
Raw pumpkin seeds are a great source of vitamin E, containing 36mg per 100g - which is an amazing 237% of your RDA! Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which maintains healthy muscle tissue and protects your lungs from pollutants linked to heart disease. It also dilates blood vessels and thins your blood, which in turn lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of blood clots.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of B vitamins, such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Niacin helps in the reduction of ‘bad cholesterol’ in the blood. Deficiencies in B vitamins can lead to many issues including anemia, fatigue, depression, constipation, poor digestion, heart problems, confusion, poor memory and concentration, poor skin, hair and nails, irregular heartbeat, moodiness, lack of appetite and anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds can play an important part in men’s health due to their high zinc content, which is important for the prostate.
Pumpkin seed oil can also be effective towards treating an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH).
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in phytoestrogens, which can lead to an increase in ‘good cholesterol’, along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flushes, headaches, joint pains and other symptoms of the menopause.
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan which is an amino acid that your body converts into melatonin; known as the “sleep hormone.” So eating a handful of pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed is a natural way to promote a restful night’s sleep.
Although you can buy roasted pumpkin seeds from most supermarkets and health food stores, it’s fun, quick and easy to make your own with fresh-out-of-the-pumpkin seeds (especially if they come from your very own home-grown one).
Here’s how to prepare and roast them to perfection:
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Nature is just about the best thing we’ve got!