For some reason, seeds are often overlooked as being a serious source of protein and other vitamins and nutrients. Chia and flax are some of the most respected of the underrated seed family, but you can find fiber, protein, and omega-3s in other seeds as well.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the many unsung seed heroes and are often overlooked. These seeds not only taste great but also pack a powerful health punch as well. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits that pumpkin seeds have to offer.
Especially for their size, pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron and can provide 16% of your recommended daily value in just ¼ cup. If for some reason you can’t chow down on ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds, you can also opt for a raw, organic pumpkin seed protein powder, which will deliver up to 40% of your DV of iron.
Many adults are iron-deficient and consuming pumpkin seeds regularly is an easy solution to this problem.
If you catch pumpkin seeds when they’re just right, they should be partially or mostly green. Chlorophyll is the culprit for this color, and it also plays a key role in detoxifying the body. Out of all the seeds out there, pumpkin seeds will be your best source of chlorophyll.
Move over nuts: pumpkin seeds are also a great source of fiber, making you feel full longer and regulating your body’s blood sugar. In just ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds you’ll get 5 grams of fiber and a fraction of the calories that ¼ cup of nuts will cost you. Not only can this fiber help with insulin regulation, but it also addresses irregularity and assists in digestion.
Zinc is important to healthy skin, hair, and nails as well as hormone production and immune health. In a miniscule ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds you’ll consume over 20% of your daily zinc needs.
Magnesium is an oft-overlooked mineral that is nonetheless crucial to your health. A handful of pumpkin seeds will get you well on your way to reaching your daily magnesium needs. To be exact, one cup of pumpkin seeds will deliver 168 mg of the mineral, making these little guys one of the best sources of magnesium.
Not only are pumpkin seeds an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, but they are also rich in monounsaturated fats. These good fats are crucial to protecting your heart, preventing inflammation throughout the body, and managing a healthy weight.
Monounsaturated fats also help regulate your blood sugar, which is not only good news for diabetics and pre-diabetics, but also means that pumpkin seeds can have a positive effect on your mood and digestion.
It may sound odd but it’s true: pumpkin seeds are extremely effective in ridding the body of dangerous microbes and parasites. ¼ cup serving will help you get rid of and prevent these dangerous microbes from harming your body.
Especially if you’re a vegan or allergic to nuts or soy, seeds (and especially pumpkin seeds) are a great protein alternative. Pumpkin seeds contain about 5 grams of protein in just 1 ounce of seeds. They also provide many of the fatty acids that are found in nuts, but you may be missing out on if you’re allergic or just don’t like them.
Pumpkin seeds are also full of amino acids, including tryptophan which boosts serotonin production and improves your mood.
All in All
As you can see, pumpkin seeds should no longer be ignored as a serious component of a healthy diet. While many people only eat them around Halloween after scooping the “gunk” out of pumpkins, these seeds can, and should, be eaten year-round. They’re easy to munch on just by themselves, or as already mentioned, you may be able to find an organic pumpkin seed protein powder mix.
You can mix the seeds or powder into your oatmeal, salads, granola bars, soups, and more. No matter how you enjoy them, pumpkin seeds are a nutrient powerhouse that should no longer be excluded from your diet.