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The Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

It’s that time of year again, pumpkin season! I know for a lot of people this means pumpkin-spiced latte time. But for me, it means carving up a big, fat pumpkin and roasting the extremely nutritional seeds. Here are some of the top reasons I snack on tasty pumpkin seeds and why you should too.

  1. Great source of magnesium.
    • According to the US Department of Agriculture, nearly half of people over the age of 1 do not get the daily recommended amount of magnesium.  
    • Magnesium is needed for over 600 reaction in the human body and essential for mental wellness, sleep regulation, strong bones, energy production, blood sugar regulation and a healthy heart.
  2. High in fiber.
    • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 12 grams of fiber.
    • We all know that fiber is essential for a healthy gut and to support regular bowel movements. But it has also been shown to reduce the risks of hemorrhoids, diabetes and high cholesterol.

  3. May improve sleep (& mood too).
    • Like turkey, pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid, tryptophan.  The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, a chemical in our brain, that when low, is often associated with depression.  Serotonin is then used to make melatonin, a hormone need for sleep regulation.
    • The high zinc content in pumpkin seeds helps in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
  4. Lowers Inflammation.
    • In an article published in Food Research International, extracts from pumpkin seeds were shown to lower inflammation.  This is related to its antioxidant properties (it does contain vitamin E and carotenoids).
    • Now, lowering inflammation is great for pretty much everyone, but in an animal study published in Pharmacol Research, pumpkin seed oil was shown to improve arthritic pain and the swelling that goes with it.

  5. Vegan/vegetarian source of protein.
    • Those of us that don’t eat meat (and/or eggs and/or dairy) are always on the search for good sources of protein.
    • Protein is an essential macromolecule in the body for cells and muscles.  An adult needs about .36 grams per pound of protein.  So if you weigh 120 lbs, you would need 43.2 grams of protein daily.
    • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 12 grams of protein.  That’s equivalent to eating about 2 ounces of shrimp or half a hamburger!
  6. They’re great alone, but easy to add to recipes too!
    • While I enjoy a handful of salty, roasted pumpkin seeds by themselves, they also make great additions to many dishes.
    • Add them to a salad or soups for that extra crunch and some protein.
    • Sprinkle them on top of your yogurt or oatmeal in the morning.
    • Bake them into muffins and breads.
    • Whatever way you like them, they’re nutritious and delicious.

Post Author: Dr. Sara