Here in the nation’s capital, the cooler temperatures and brilliant colors of Fall are upon us. Pumpkin patches are opening everywhere and among the neighborhood kids, the countdown to Halloween has begun. This year, rather than throwing out the pumpkin seeds after carving lanterns or making pie, nutritionists are suggesting that we eat them. Pumpkin and its seeds provide many nutritional benefits including:
- Vitamins: vitamin C, E, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, both beta & alpha carotenoids (anti-oxidants which help prevent cell damage), and lutein (to support healthy eyes)
- Protein: pumpkin seeds are high in protein
- Essential fatty acid oils: to help maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves, tissues and hair
Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46% of the daily value for magnesium, 29% for iron, 52% for manganese, 24% for copper, 16.9% for protein, and 17% for zinc.
It’s claimed that pumpkins can also support kidney, bladder and prostate health; minimize osteoporosis, help get rid of parasites & tapeworms, and lower cholesterol due to the high levels of phytosterol. Pumpkin seeds may also alleviate symptoms of depression as they contain L-tryptophan.
Dr. Helen Lee of ChicagoHealers.com recommends four ways to incorporate pumpkin into your everyday diet.
- A handful of raw pumpkin seeds as a snack or mixed with trail mix, on top of cereal
- Pumpkin seed butter spread on toast
- Pumpkin pie/desserts/pancakes/waffles
- Pumpkin baked or browned with spices in risotto, chili, rice, spaghetti
SRxA‘s Word on Health’s personal favorite is pumpkin seed oil, a wonderful thick, green- oil that is produced from roasted pumpkin seeds. Try it drizzled on pumpkin soup or mixed with balsamic on salads. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even do as the Viennese, and add a few drops on vanilla ice cream.
Go on, share your favorite pumpkin recipe with us!