After Halloween, your carved pumpkin may be a sad, deflated version of its former spooky self, or maybe your uncarved pumpkins are still adding festive fall spirit to your home. Pumpkins may not be a permanent fixture, but packaged pumpkin seeds are a solid snack for year-round nibbling. Aside from incorporating them into your diet as a snack, salad topper and more, here are all the nutritional reasons pumpkin seeds deserve a spot in your pantry.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are jam-packed with key nutrients. Per the USDA, ¼ cup of dried pumpkin seeds have 180 calories, 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates including 2 grams of fiber,16 grams of healthy fats and contains many vitamins and minerals like magnesium and iron. These key nutrients may help improve the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, curbing hunger, bowel movements and even mood. The health benefits of pumpkin seeds are worth noting.
Sometimes it can be a challenge getting enough protein in a day. Adding some pumpkin seeds to your diet can help since they have a whopping 10 grams of protein in ¼ cup! Not only that, eating plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds may offer protection against serious health issues. This includes reducing the risk of developing diabetes, preventing cardiovascular disease and helping to maintain a healthy weight. Everyone needs a different amount of protein, and it is recommended to talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian for a plan that works for you.
Fiber comes from carbohydrates and can help regulate bowel movements, may regulate cholesterol levels and helps us feel full longer. The average amount of fiber recommended for men is 38 grams and 25 grams for women. Pumpkin seeds can help you achieve your fiber goals when included with other meals and snacks.
Pumpkin seeds contain about 16 grams of fat, including 5 grams of monounsaturated and about 7 grams of polyunsaturated fats in ¼ cup. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are unsaturated fats that contain many potential health benefits. These healthy fats can help decrease our total cholesterol levels in the body (by decreasing our LDL, or bad cholesterol). With this, unsaturated fats may prevent the buildup of plaque in our arteries, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
With a high amount of magnesium in pumpkin seeds, just 1oz (or about ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds) includes 191mg of magnesium. Magnesium is important for overall heart health, regulating blood sugar levels and even increases mood. In addition, pumpkin seeds have been associated with better sleep quality due to its high amounts of magnesium. If you would like to increase your magnesium levels for yourself, aim for about 400-420mg for men, 310-320mg for women, and 350-360mg for pregnant women of magnesium daily.
Lastly, pumpkin seeds also contain iron. Iron plays a key role in carrying oxygen throughout our bodies. Having low iron in the body may make you feel tired and run-down. In 1oz of pumpkin seeds (or about ¼ cup), there are 3mg of iron. The recommended amount of iron for women is 18mg per day and 8mg per day for men (ages 19-50).
Pumpkin Seed Recipes & Products
The opportunities for adding pumpkin seeds into your diet are endless! Check out the below recipes and products.
Protein-Packed Breakfast Banana Split
This recipe includes many different nuts and seeds for extra fiber and protein. In just 5 minutes, you can create a beautiful, healthy breakfast that is definitely photo worthy.
Chipotle Tofu, Peach & Roasted Corn Salad
This stunning, colorful and protein packed salad will make you think twice about “uninteresting” salads.
If you are feeling a treat, try this brittle recipe made with pumpkin seeds to increase protein in a sweet and satisfying snack!
If you are not a fan of carving pumpkins, or wanting something a bit simpler, check out some of Vitacost’s raw and flavored pumpkin seeds.
NOW Real Food Raw Pumpkin Seeds Unsalted
Pumpkin seeds have many key nutrients to make them a great snack or added into a meal. The next time you think about something new to try, try one of the recipes provided or include pumpkin seeds in a recipe of your own!
If you are looking for more ways to include pumpkin seeds or other nuts and seeds into your diet, contact a Kroger Health Dietitian. Kroger Health Dietitians offer 1:1 telenutrition counseling for in the comfort of your own home and an app-based program.