Pumpkins, particularly their seeds (also known as “pepitas”), have played a large role in the health and wellness world for quite some time. With Halloween right around the corner, everyone is eagerly awaiting pumpkin pies and other pumpkin-flavored delicacies. But the seeds themselves are often overlooked when, in fact, they offer incredible benefits. Plus, you can enjoy them all year round!
Q: What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds?
A: First and foremost, the pumpkin seed is packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients. One serving of pumpkin seeds contains heart-healthy fats, a heaping amount of protein and a nice amount of fiber to boot. Just a handful makes an excellent choice for a midday snack, because their fiber and fat content is sure to tide you over until your next meal. In that same serving, you also get about 50% of the daily value of magnesium and nearly 20% of your daily value of zinc.
In addition, pumpkin seeds provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies convert ALA into the ever-so-essential omega-3 components, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA help support cardiovascular health, as well as promote optimal brain function. This means pumpkin seeds, or pumpkin seed oil, are a much more palatable, vegan-friendly alternative to fish oil.*
Aside from its vitamin and nutrient profile, pumpkin seeds may help promote a healthy prostate. Many blended prostate support formulas feature pumpkin seed oil for this reason.*
Q: What are the best ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds?
A: There are a few options available for getting your daily dose of pumpkin seeds. First, and probably the most obvious, is to actually eat pumpkin seeds. Whole, raw pumpkin seeds come pre-shelled and unsweetened and have a mildly sweet flavor with a size and texture similar to sunflower seeds. They make for a convenient snack or easily mix into smoothies. Pumpkin seeds are also available dry roasted and with various seasonings like chili lime, garlic herb and jalapeno.
For a supplemental dose of pumpkin seed, you might want to try pumpkin seed oil. You can take the oil by the spoonful or toss it with salads, drizzle over potatoes for roasting or mix into a pasta sauce. If taste or texture are an issue, try the softgel form instead.
See, no need to wait all year to pump a little pumpkin into your diet!