Health benefits of pumpkin seeds

By The Health News Team | October 26, 2022
Pumpkin seeds

As you carve your Halloween pumpkin this year, you may want to think twice about throwing out those pumpkin seeds. According to Lindsay Yau, a registered dietitian nutritionist and wellness education specialist at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers, pumpkin seeds may be small but are packed with nutrients.

“In one small serving you can reap the many health benefits of pumpkin seeds,” Yau explains.

Pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds inside a pumpkin, a member of the squash family. They are usually flat and oval shaped with a white outer shell and a green kernel inside. Pumpkin seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores raw, sprouted or roasted, or you can scoop them straight from a pumpkin.

Benefits of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with the nutrients our bodies need. They are rich in protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are also a heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat that reduce risk factors of chronic diseases.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium, which many people lack in their diet. Magnesium helps your body:

  • Regulate blood sugar, lowering the risk of diabetes

  • Regulate blood pressure, which lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease

  • Form and maintain healthy bones

Additionally, pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • Zinc, a mineral that assists in healing tissue and supporting a strong immune system

  • Iron, an important mineral needed to make hemoglobin and carry oxygen throughout the body

  • Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for blood clotting

How to eat them
Pumpkin seeds can be eaten with or without their shells. They make a great snack as is, roasted or raw.

There are several ways you can incorporate pumpkin seeds in meals and recipes for added crunch and extra flavor:

  • Mix them in granola, yogurt, cereal or oatmeal.

  • Add them to your favorite energy bar recipe.

  • Sprinkle them on salads or as a garnish for soups.

  • Blend them into pumpkin seed butter or into a smoothie.

  • Bake them into cookies or breads, or sprinkle on other baked goods, such as muffins or pumpkin pie.

Although pumpkin seeds are a nutrient-dense, heart-healthy fat, Yau recommends being mindful of how much you consume, as they are energy dense and easy to overeat. “An appropriate portion, if eaten as a snack alone, would be about a quarter of a cup,” she says.

Learn more about nutrition; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

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