The Power of Pumpkin Seeds
It’s that time of year again; the leaves are changing color, you can see your breath in the morning, and there are lots and lots of pumpkins waiting to be plucked from the field. Take advantage of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds by adding them to your next meal, or simply take a bag with you for a quick and nutritious snack. Native to the Americas, pumpkin seeds were first a food touted by the Aztecs and Native American tribes, who used it both for a food source as well as for medicinal purposes. Once trade opened to the continents, pumpkin seeds soon became an essential staple in diets around the world.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, with 10 milligrams per ounce, as well as vitamin E, in several forms. The seeds also have nearly 74 percent of your daily recommended value of manganese, and 53 percent of tryptophan. Additionally, you can obtain 47 percent of your daily value of magnesium, 40 percent of phosphorus, and over 20 percent of protein per ¼ cup.
As an antioxidant, pumpkin seeds contain all the various forms of vitamin E: alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol and gamma-tocomonoenol. This, combined with traditional antioxidants like zinc and manganese, makes pumpkin seeds a top choice for a healthy improvement to everyday diets as well as reducing cancer risk. These seeds are also a great source of hard-to-find minerals including zinc, copper, as well as iron. So what do all these vitamins and minerals mean? For one, studies have indicated that there may be a link between pumpkin seed extracts and the management of insulin levels. Lignans found in pumpkin seeds have anti-viral properties, while oils and extracts have been long used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate.
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
When roasting pumpkin seeds at home, roast for 15-20 minutes or less in order to maintain the healthy fat content. Remove the seeds from the interior of the pumpkin, and wipe any residual pulp from thee seed, then spread them on parchment paper and leave them to dry overnight before roasting. Set the oven at a low temperature (approximately 170°F) and roast on a cookie sheet. So how can you enjoy pumpkin seeds? Add them to sautéed vegetables, toss with salad or mix with your cereal (hot or cold). Or just keep them on hand for when you need a quick snack.
Can't Get Enough Pumpkin Seeds?
Try 22 Days Nutrition's Enlightened Pumpkinseed protein bar. It's filled with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds for a seriously powerful vegan protein-packed bar! Photo:jaxzin