Food Focus: Pumpkin Seeds
Are you the type that leaves pumpkin patch pickings until you decorate for Christmas without taking out the beauty that lives inside of them? I did for years, until I learned the nutritional benefit of the seeds and now carve them open like a nut!
These gems contain what is called beta-sitosterol, which has been linked to helping prostate support. They have also demonstrated cholesterol-lowering activity, which is also a bonus.
Prostate health aside, they also have a rich source of minerals that are important to every day health! Magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, tryptophan (hello, good sleep!) and cancer-fighting selenium.
Fun fact: both the raw dried seeds and the roasted are nutrient dense. But if you want to really jazz up the benefits, roasting with some high-quality olive or coconut oil and spices will be a delicious way to promote overall health!
Pumpkin seed oil could help decrease cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, both of which are two of the major risk factors for heart disease. The seeds also help stabilize blood sugar. They are rich in protein and fiber, both of which can slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream! Sugar crashes play a huge role in energy and weight gain.
If you've been hanging around this site long enough, you know I'm a huge proponent of ancient medicine. Why? Food is medicine! On an Ayurvedic diet, pumpkin seeds are often considered alkalizing. They have also been said to nourish the blood, act as a natural diuretic, and suppress appetite. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pumpkin seeds are used to help treat a variety of different conditions. "They are believed to support lactation in mothers, promote healthy digestion, prevent parasitic infections and reduce stomach pain." - Dr. Axe
My favorite way to eat these beauties are roasted. Cut open those pumpkins, carve out the seeds, rinse and dry. Then lay on a baking sheet, adding your favorite oil and spices. Cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper is a fall fave mix of mine!
Sources and Additional Reading:
150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Bowden, Jonny. 2007.