Halloween is the main time of year that many people go anywhere near a pumpkin. The over-sized orange vegetable is usually carved up into a Jack-o’-lantern to celebrate Halloween.
The humble pumpkin is a member of the squash family and has a thick shell, pulp flesh and seeds. Believe it or not, it’s the edible seeds that are packed full of valuable nutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Eating even a small amount provides you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc, and many health benefits.
Snacking That Is Good For You
Pumpkin seeds are flat and asymmetrically oval, and light green in colour, once the white hull is removed. The nutritious seeds can be bought shell-free for convenience. An ounce of pumpkin seeds is packed with protein, magnesium, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B2, folate, polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy fats, and is around 151 calories. They can be munched straight from the pack, or incorporated into your diet in a variety of tasty ways.
Sprinkling pumpkin seeds over your food offers many health benefits:
Good Mood Enhancer
Pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium, which can help to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. The high magnesium source is also beneficial in preventing migraines and headaches. If you suffer from menopausal hot flushes, pumpkin seeds can help to reduce the symptoms.
Reduced Cancer Risks
The compounds found in pumpkin seeds have been shown to help to fight certain types of cancer. Research shows that diets that are rich in pumpkin seeds are associated with lower levels of stomach, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers.
The nutrients in pumpkin seeds can help to keep your heart healthy, as they are beneficial in reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol.
Lower Blood Sugar
The high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds is thought to be responsible for having a positive effect on diabetes. Supplementing your diet with pumpkin seeds can help to reduce high blood sugar levels.
Healthy Weight Maintenance
If you love to snack, pumpkin seeds are a great source of fibre and take longer to digest. This means that you feel full after munching on a handful of pumpkin seeds and no longer crave other snacks.
Promotes Hair Growth
Pumpkin seeds contain Vitamin C and cucurbitin, a unique amino acid that helps to promote hair health and growth.
All Round Beauty Booster
The vitamins A and E, along with zinc and magnesium that is contained in pumpkin seeds, are beneficial to the health of your hair, skin and nails.
Improves Sperm Quality
Eating pumpkin seeds, that are naturally high in zinc, can contribute to enhanced testosterone levels and improved reproductive function, especially in men.
Pumpkin seeds also contain the a-amino acid Tryptophan and serotonin, which is considered to be nature’s sleeping pill. Eating a small handful of pumpkin seeds just before bedtime can help you drift off to sleep in no time.
Tasty Ways To Eat Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw or dry roasted as a snack.
- Pumpkin seeds can be used to add texture to soups, salads, and even breakfast options like granola, muesli or yogurt.
- Add pumpkin seeds to your cake mix when baking, for added texture and tasty healthy benefits.