Sign In
Are you a doctor?

Pumpkin Seeds: Why It's a Superfood ?

Christie Melhorn
With Halloween just around the corner, pumpkins with toothy grins or snarling faces are appearing in more and more on the door steps of neighborhood houses. This year, if you’re planning on carving a pumpkin of your own, don’t let the heap of seeds sitting on your newspapered work area get swept up into the trash! Hang on to those seeds for a healthy snack to satisfy your cravings for a sweet and crunchy treat with something other than a crispy crunch.

pumpkins Aside from their delicious texture, pumpkin seeds carry quite the nutritional punch. In his health blog, osteopathic physician Dr. Mercola explains that pumpkin seeds are loaded with Zinc, which can help with an array of physical functions. This includes boosting your immune system, regulating sleep, insulin regulation and a bolstered sense of taste (so those seeds will taste even better). In only one ounce of seeds, there is 2mg of Zinc, helping to counter the zinc-deficiency that Dr. Mercola explains is all too common in our diets [1].

A lack of zinc can lead to a greater susceptibility to colds, fatigue, acne breakouts and troubles concentrating – maybe before carving your pumpkin, you should pop a few seeds to fuel you through the process!

Pumpkin seeds are also rich with plant-based omego-3 fats. While it is important to nourish your body with adequate levels of omega-3 fats from marine sources, The American Heart Association claims that plant-based omega 3’s from pumpkin seeds can still help fend off cardiovascular disease [2]. This is because they lower blood pressure, lower the risk of thrombosis (which can lead to cardia arrest and stroke) and deplete inflammatory responses. The AHA suggests consuming at least 1.5-3 grams per day in order to reap the benefits of plant-based omega 3 fats.

pumpkin seeds bag A vigorous night of pumpkin carving may not be the only reason you get a great sleep if you’ve munched on pumpkin seeds. Dr. Mercola explains that the seeds carry the amino acid tryptophan which our bodies convert into serotonin. Eventually, this is changed into melatonin - a hormone that helps us fall into a deep, restful sleep.

. According to AHA, the best way to reap the benefits of pumpkin seeds is to eat them raw. To accomplish this, take your goopy seeds and rinse them off in a strainer. While doing so, bring a pot of water to a boil. When the water is ready, let the seeds simmer in it for 5 minutes. The shells should separate from the inner seeds and float to the surface. You can continue to separate them after pouring the pots contents into your strainer (that is clean of the stringy pumpkin bits from earlier). I like to toss pumpkin seeds into greek yogurt parfaits or plant them on top of a piece of toast with a little bit of honey.

If you’re feeling like something on the sweeter side and would rather spend more time carving into your pumpkin, you can rinse the seeds but leave the shells on to toast them. Toasting them makes them nice and crunchy so they are not a hassle to eat. You can simply spread them out onto a cookie sheet, dust them with some cinnamon, nutmeg or any spice of your choice and a modest sprinkle of brown sugar. For those with a taste for salty goods, you can toss some sea salt, streak spice, chili powder, or any seasoning of your desire. Whatever topping you include, let the seeds roast for about 45 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown (not brown burnt).

So, as you indulge in the satisfying squelch and slop of gutting your pumpkin, keep in mind the benefits of those seeds that we so often mindlessly toss into the garbage. Between the sense of reward and excitement of finishing a jack-o-lantern, I understand it can be an easy thing to overlook. But you can take extra pride in knowing that your pumpkin not only brings color and flavor to your front yard, but also to your palette!
Christie Melhorn October 31, 2016

Sign up to leave comment
All Articles
Myth vs Facts
Health and Wellness
Contribute to VisitDoctor.ca
Readers' Picks
Medical Tests New Immigrants to Canada Should Be Aware Of
Haadi Hafeez
Moving to a new country can be a long and arduous ordeal; application processes, background checks, and medical tests...
Natural VS Conventional Medication
Haadi Hafeez
In an ideal world people would live long lives, never having to deal with illness or disease. We would eat naturally...
Canadian View on Physician-Assisted Death
Vivian L.
Today's Canadians want control over all aspects of their own lives, including the choice of whether to live or die....
Physics Meets Medicine
Zahra Abdi
I once saw a post that distinguished the complex fields of biology and physics, with a simple (and slightly comical)...
Studies in Shut-Eye: How Much Sleep is Enough
Terese Mason Pierre
How much sleep do you really need? And why do some people sleep less than others? Can you get just a few hours of sleep...
The Case of OJ vs. the Orange; The Jury Trial
Yoshith Perera
Your honor... Today this glass of orange juice or OJ you see before you is on trial for causing several humans to...