Before you toss those pumpkin seeds when you’re done carving a pumpkin with your kids, read this!
Pumpkin Seed Nutrition
Pumpkin seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is the plant based form of omega-3 fatty acid, this means they’re perfect for vegans and vegetarians who can’t get omega-3s from animal sourced foods. Certain types of fish tend to have the most potent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are most notably effective in improving artery health, fighting cholesterol, and boosting brain function. For people who want an alternative to fish, pumpkin seeds are an excellent choice. Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and several minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. This alkaline-forming seed can prevent the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones and helps keep bones healthy by protecting against osteoporosis. Magnesium from the seeds will lend itself to improving metabolism and athletic performance, while iron can help ward off common ailments and conditions like anemia, low energy, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, and dizziness.
Along with the omega-3s and monounsaturated fats that your body loves, pumpkin seeds also come packed with 12 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per one cup serving. That healthy dose of dietary fiber may help your digestive tract, keep extra weight from piling on, prevent heart disease, and lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Good Vitamin Source
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin E, and all the B vitamins as well, including riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folates, and vitamin B6. Rich in phytoestrogens, pumpkin seed oil has also been shown to improve HDL cholesterol levels. In terms of feeling the benefits of adding pumpkin seeds to your diet, the L-tryptophan that they contain may help you sleep better at night by aiding melatonin and serotonin production, especially when you consume them before bedtime. The oil from pumpkin seeds has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may benefit people suffering from various nutritional deficiencies or arthritic conditions who don’t want to deal with any of the nasty side effects associated with medications.
Pumpkin Seed Benefits for Skin and Hair
Some people have started replacing their coconut oil-based skincare routines with pumpkin seed oil instead. Its healthy fats are great for hydration while the vitamin A promotes cell turnover to keep skin looking youthful and free from breakouts.
The oil from pumpkin seeds has also been touted for its ability to promote hair growth in men with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia. After 24 weeks of treatment, mean hair count increases of 40 percent were observed in men treated with pumpkin seed oil, while only a 10 percent increase was observed in placebo-treated men.
How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds
One of the most popular ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds is by roasting them in the oven and eating them on their own as a crunchy snack. But there are lots of other great ways you can incorporate them into some of your other favorite meals throughout the day.
If you’d like to get a little more creative with using pumpkin seeds in your diet, try using them in pesto sauces in place of or in addition to pine nuts, use them as a soup or salad garnish, or grinding them up and add to meatballs and burgers for a subtle nutty flavor. Now you know that pumpkins aren’t just useful for baking delicious pies and carving up scary jack o lanterns for your kids. In fact, with all the incredible health and beauty benefits that pumpkin seeds have to offer, you’ll have a good excuse to stock up on them while they’re in season so you can enjoy them all year!