Pumpkin seeds without shells are often referred to as pepitas, this term originating in Mexico. In fact, pumpkin seeds were used as an important source of nutrition as far back as the Aztec cultures of 1300-1500 AD.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
According to the USDA, pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and healthy plant based unsaturated and mono-saturated fats such as omega-3 acid. Other nutrients present include tryptophan, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. They also contain vitamins A and K.
In fact, just one cup of pumpkin seeds contains 44% of the daily value (DV) of zinc, 22% of copper, 42% magnesium, 16% manganese, 17% potassium, and enough iron (17% DV) to make a measurable difference in iron-deficiency associated anemia.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are truly a superfood! They help boost immunity and metabolic rates, enhance weight reduction, uplift mood, and improve sleep. Other benefits include increased testosterone levels in men, protection against the progression of cancers and parasites, reduced incidence of kidney stones, improved heart health, diabetes control, bone health, and faster wound healing. Pumpkin seeds are good for your ego as well, because they even aid in hair growth!
Let’s take a closer look at some of these health benefits:
Their fiber content aids digestion, preventing constipation, and supporting a healthy gut microbiome.
Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of magnesium and tryptophan, both of which have soothing qualities that stimulate sleep. Your body converts tryptophan into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that helps regulate sleeping patterns.
Improved Prostate Health
The high zinc content of pumpkin seeds are good for relieving the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. They help keep the prostate healthy, which is one of the most common places for men to develop cancer.
The anti-cancer compounds, (lignans) present in pumpkin seed extracts are antioxidants that help prevent various types of cancers including stomach, prostate, lung, and colon cancer. These compounds are also known to reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
The higher zinc content in pumpkin seeds assures adequate levels of zinc intake which is essential for proper immune function.
The high magnesium content in pumpkin seeds aids in lowering the blood glucose levels in the body. By increasing insulin production and reducing oxidative stress in the body, they help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Prevent Parasitic Activity
Pumpkin seeds are associated with anti-parasitic activity and have been used for many years to eliminate tapeworms and other dangerous parasites from the body.
Consuming pumpkin seeds adds healthy amounts of protein and anti-inflammatory compounds to the diet that reduces inflammation and arthritis symptoms.
Prevent Kidney Stones
Pumpkin seeds help reduce the incidence of kidney stones due to their diuretic and antioxidant properties. Uric acid and various other metabolites are more rapidly removed from the body, preventing calcium oxalate kidney stone formation
Pumpkin seeds are extremely popular due to their effects on osteoporosis. They have high levels of zinc, calcium, copper, and other minerals that are linked to increased bone density. Studies have shown that regular consumption of pumpkin seeds can reduce bone weakness and the symptoms of osteoporosis.
The Huge Variety of Ways to Enjoy Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Trail Mix: mix in with nuts, dried fruits, and a bit of chocolate
Yogurt Topping: sprinkle atop your yogurt along with fruit and drizzled honey
Granola Bars: add to homemade granola bars
Energy Bites: blend with dates, nut butter and some honey
Smoothie Booster: grind and add to your smoothie prep
Salads: sprinkle on top of salads for added crunch and nutrition
Soups: use as a garnish for soups, especially the creamy variety.
Pesto: blend with fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and some lemon juice
Stir Fries: add to vegetable stir-fries for extra crunch
Baked Goods: incorporate these seeds when baking bread, muffins and cookies
Breakfast Cereal: sprinkle atop your morning granola or oatmeal for added nutrition
All of the above snacks and meals provide added health benefits when you opt for the raw organic variety of pumpkin seeds provided by Northwest Wild Foods. By doing so, you are avoiding potential exposure to pesticides and chemicals, making them a healthier food for you and the environment.