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Why You Need to Start Eating Pumpkin Seeds Now!

It is a little known fact just how strong pumpkin seeds can actually be. Not only are they a delicious and convenient snack to take with you on the go, they are absolutely LOADED with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Some parts of Central Europe have even begun growing pumpkins strictly for the harvesting of their seeds. Also referred to as “pepita” by the Central Americans, pumpkins are native to Mexico and are now a worldwide phenomenon to the healthy eating community.

Top 9 Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

1. A Quarter Cup of Pumpkin Seeds Contains Almost Half our Daily Needed Magnesium

That's right! Only a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains almost half our daily dosage of magnesium. Magnesium affects the energy levels in our body, the formation of healthy teeth and bones, relaxes our blood vessels, assists in proper excretory function, and even keeps your heart pumping. On the thought of a healthier heart did you know that magnesium also lowers blood pressure and can help prevent heart complications? If that isn't enough to get you eating pumpkin seeds already.. then keep reading!

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2. Get Sick Less

Pumpkin Seeds are also a high source of zinc which can go a long way in boosting immunity, cell growth, sleep, insulin production, and even mood! Zinc deficiency can have tremendously negative effects on our immunity, ability to learn, fatigue, acne, and even depression. Upping your zinc intake can lead to a healthier you but always talk to your doctor to find out whats best for you.

3. Fish for Omega-3? No Thanks!

It is common knowledge that the best source for Omega-3 is fish. But if you are like me and are not the biggest fan of fish, then it will please you to know that YES pumpkin seeds are a source of plant based Omega-3's! Omega-3 has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve joints, improve lung function, and even let us focus our minds better. That being said, variety is the spice of life, and you should not always rely on pumpkin seeds for all of your omega-3 needs.

4. Prostate Health

Coming back to the topic of zinc, prostates have the highest level of zinc in the body making zinc incredibly important to men's health in particular. It was also found that prostate health issues may be treated with pumpkin seed oils and extracts making the solution very simple: healthier prostate = more zinc in your diet = pumpkin seeds.

5. Insulin Regulation? We shall see...

Although the studies have yet to be done on humans as of now, there is a promising discovery that pumpkin seeds may help with insulin regulations and prevent diabetic complications. On top of all of the benefits already mentioned, research is STILL finding benefits to pumpkin seeds.

6. Postmenopausal Assistance

Recent studies have shown that pumpkin seeds may lead to a decrease in hot flashes, high blood pressure, joint pains, headaches, and other effects caused by postmenopausal symptoms. Taking even a small bag of these seeds may be all you need to make it through your day just a little bit easier.

7. Heart and Liver

As you have seen thus far, pumpkin seeds play an incredible role to our heart health. It has also been discovered that mixed with flax seed in particular, pumpkin seeds provide a huge boost to our liver on top of boosting our heart health.

8. Pumpkin Seeds and Sleep...Zzzz

If you have trouble sleeping, the reason for that may very well be linked to your diet, and the answer as I am sure you guessed, could be pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin Seeds are a rich source of tryptophan which is an amino acid that your body converts into serotonin which is then converted into melatonin or the "sleep hormone." Eating pumpkin seeds with a small fruit may go a long way in promoting a healthier, natural, restful sleep.

9. The Science of The Anti-Inflammatory and Pumpkin Seeds

In recent tests, it was shown that pumpkin seed oil exhibited anti-inflammatory effects. It even showed promise of working as effectively as top medication but without the nasty side effects.

Where to Store Pumpkin Seeds

A Hand Holding Pumpkin Seeds

As I am sure you have purchased a lot of pumpkin seeds by now, it is important to know where to store them properly to maintain the maximum nutritional value in the least amount of time. Storing in your pantry will allow a shelf life of 2-3 months before degrading. Should you want to refrigerate them it will jump its freshness significantly by allowing it about 12 months before going bad. If you want to put them in your freezer they will also keep for about 12 months at minimum. It is important to note that regardless of how you store them, always store them in an airtight bag or container and to keep them at a dry and cool temperature.

Top 4 Ways to Prepare Pumpkin Seeds

Option 1: Roasting

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C)
  2. Separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin flesh
  3. Clean the outer shell of the seeds by rinsing with cold water, this will remove any leftover fleshy bits
  4. Pat dry with a paper towel
  5. Season as desired, you can use curry, cayenne pepper, chipotle flakes, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, table salt, sea salt, or anything that you feel would taste good
  6. Spread out on a baking dish and put them into your preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy

Option 2: Toasting

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C) AND bring water to a boil, you should use 2 cups of water for every half a cup of pumpkin seeds, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt in water
  2. Separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin flesh
  3. Simmer your seeds in the boiling water for about 10 minutes then drain
  4. Coat a baking pan with a thin layer of olive oil then spread the seeds across the pan
  5. Place the baking pan on the top oven rack for 5-20 minutes depending on seed size as small seeds will cook faster

Option 3: Frying

  1. Preheat skillet
  2. Place a thin layer of olive oil OR sugar (depending on your desired flavor) into your skillet
  3. Put your pumpkin seeds into your skillet and cook them until they begin to pop/caramelize

Option 4: Raw/Incorporation

No steps for this one, enjoy them in a bag on the go, while you watch a movie, or in your lunch for school/work. You can also add them to your other favorite foods such as:

  • Salads
  • Brittle
  • Flan
  • Bread
  • Pesto
  • Anything else you want to

Check Out This Cool Video for a More In Depth Look at Roasting Pumpkin Seeds!

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About the Writer

jayauthor-blog-resizedJay Author is passionate about sharing his knowledge about superfoods through various medium like articles, video, books etc. A majority of this information is being offered as Free for the benefit of our readers and customers. You can learn more about Jay Author's upcoming books at www.JayAuthor.com

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References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin-seeds.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Eat-Pumpkin-Seeds

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/skip-the-salmon-and-eat-these-healthy-fats-instead/

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet

http://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18124

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