Raw organic pumpkin seeds are pretty much a perfect food. They contain all the macro nutrients of fat, carbohydrates, and protein in the perfect ratios needed to keep your blood sugar stable and give you a slow release of energy. They also pack a high nutritional punch with their vitamin and mineral content, and in this post we will discuss the raw organic pumpkin seed’s top 10 health benefits.
Pumpkin seeds are SO versatile!
We have been eating raw seeds for nutrition since we evolved millions of years ago, which makes them the perfect Paleo food that your body will just love. You can add them to many dishes as they are so versatile; plus they are a rich source of iron, are perfect on a plant based diet, can be added to smoothies, your morning cereal, a crunchy topping to soup and salads, homemade granola bars, or just munch them as a snack any time of day for a low GI energy boost.
These delicious green seeds are best eaten raw as heat treatment will not only destabilise their lovely healthy omega fats, but will also destroy many of their healthful nutrients and antioxidants -something that you don’t ant to do!
Buy Organic Pumpkin Seeds
Buying organic seeds is always best as some pumpkin seeds can come laden with chemicals, fertilisers, or even heavy metals. This can be especially true if they come from countries that have lots of heavy industry going on, that’s why to be on the safe side I always opt for organic where possible.
Before we start on the healthful pumpkin seed’s many benefits, here is a breakdown of all the goodness inside just one portion (which equates to about 28 grams, or one handful).
Nutritional profile of raw shelled pumpkin seeds per 28 grams:-
- Magnesium – 37% RDA
- Manganese – 42% RDA
- Zinc – 14% RDA
- Iron – 23% RDA
- Phosphorus – 33% RDA
- Copper – 19% RDA
- Vitamin K – 18% RDA
Fiber and Macro Nutrients
- CARBOHYDRATES – 5 GRAMS
- FAT – 13 GRAMS
- PROTEIN – 7 GRAMS
- FIBER – 1.7 GRAMS
Pumpkin Health Benefits
1. HIGH IN POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANTS
The pumpkin seed’s antioxidants of vitamin E and carotenoids help slow down the aging process both on the inside and out, which in turn may help lower your risk of certain diseases, and will also help give your skin youthful glow. Antioxidants help neutralise the free radical damage inflicted on your body through environmental toxins, junk foods, trans fats, sugar, smoking, and alcohol.
Antioxidants and Inflammation
Antioxidants, by their very nature are anti inflammatory; and chronic inflammation can be one of the pre-cursers to diseases such as Parkinson’s, some cancers, asthma, allergies, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Eating a diet rich in antioxidants such as colourful fruits and vegetables, will not only make you look a million bucks on the outside, but will be doing you an even bigger favour on the inside.
2. POTENTIALLY ANTI CANCER
Pumpkin seeds, if consumed regularly, may help lower your risk of prostate, colon, stomach, lung, and breast cancer specifically (especially in post menopausal women).
Studies suggest this is due to the ligons in pumpkin seeds (ligons are certain chemicals found in plants that help with hormone balance, hence the reason why they may be protective against breast cancer).
3. A GOOD SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM
The pumpkin seed’s outstanding feature is its magnesium content. In fact, it is one of the best natural sources of this vital mineral that is needed in the body for over 600 chemical reactions. Imagine! And, it also so happens that many of us in the western culture are chronically deficient so there’s a good a reason as any to munch down on this delicious, nutty seeds.
Possible magnesium deficiency symptoms
- Mental problems, such as anxiety, depression and irritability
- Muscle and body aches, pains and spazms, back pain
- Thyroid disorders
- Coldness of extremities such as feet, hands, and nose
- Sugar cravings
- Dental problems
- Kidney Stones
- Gut and stomach problems
4. WEIGHT LOSS
Yep, I said weight loss! Even though pumpkin seeds are high in fat, they have a very low GI of 10 out of 100. Glycemic index is a measurement for food, and tells you how fast a particular foods sugars or carbohydrates are released into the bloodstream- the lower the GI the better, especially for diabetics and weight loss purposes. Bear in mind that low GI eating is also pretty vital to everybody as high GI foods are associated (in the long run) with diabetes, obesity, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.
Being as pumpkin seeds score low on the glycemic index scale this makes them a perfect weight loss snack, but they should be eaten in moderation and not with wanton abandon, as this generous rule does have its limits. You need to eat all weight loss foods in moderation, and always count them towards your daily fat, carb, and calorie load if you don’t want to gain weight.
5. HEART HEALTH
It’s obvious we all need a healthy heart ticking away inside us and pumpkin seeds contain all the elements to keep yours in tiptop condition such as antioxidants, EFFA’s, zinc and magnesium.
All of these nutrients combined can help lower blood pressure and boost good LDL cholesterol levels. So add a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to your morning cereal, and make it a matter of habit.
6. BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
This leads me on to the next major benefit of pumpkin seed’s, as not only are they low GI, which making them great for weight loss, blood sugar control, and type 2 diabetes, but their high magnesium content has a double whammy effect on these conditions which all require magnesium.
Three large studies have shown that those eating magnesium rich diets had a lower risk of diabetes. That’s just the effects of the magnesium alone, and without the other major benefit of blood sugar control due to the pumpkin seed also being low GI.
6. SPERM QUALITY
One for the guys here: Everything about the pumpkin seed is good for sperm; they are high in zinc, antioxidants, and lots of other specific nutrients that contribute to sperm quality and healthy testosterone levels.
Make sure you pack some pumpkin seeds in his lunchbox ladies, especially if you are trying to become pregnant; and also to help you have bouncing healthy babies!
The magnesium in pumpkin seed’s are great for relaxing muscles, calming nerves, and ultimately helping you to sleep more soundly and deeply. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan which converts to serotonin, in turn converting to the sleep hormone melatonin.
Sounds complicated, but the bottom line is we need our melotonin hormone to kick in in order to get a good nights kip. And being as so many of us are deficient in magnesium, it could very well be one of the contributing factors as to why most of the general population are just not getting the good quality sleep they need.
Other sleep inducing foods
You would. however, need more than one serving of pumpkin seeds to reap the full benefits, which is why if you have problems with sleep it is good to add other sleep inducing foods such as miso, whole grains, broccoli, lettuce, bananas, cherries, and almonds.
There is no need to try and eat all these last thing at night – you can eat them all day long and the effects will come together when your body is ready to sleep. Don’t worry, eating these foods in the day won’t actually make you fall asleep at the office desk, but instead will just make you feel more calm relaxed.
8. ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND CHRONIC STRESS
All of these problems can literally ruin your life. Depression, I know, from my own experience, is probably one of the worst mental illnesses, and when you’re hanging out there in the dark it can be hard to know what to do and where to turn. It is vital you understand the benefits of good nutrition and exercise to help fight these mental disorders.
Pumpkin seeds, due to their high magnesium and mineral content, plus their low GI rating, are just one fantastic food out of many that you can add to your diet if you want to ease depression and anxiety. This, along with a low GI diet in general, omega 3 fish oil supplements, and CRUCIALLY a good exercise plan, preferably with some kind of weights or resistance training will help. Remember, it’s always best to consult your doctor first about mental illness issues to be on the safe side.
9. GUT PROBLEMS
The fiber content in pumpkin seed’s, as in other high fiber foods, is extremely good for digestive health, and the gut in general. Fiber keeps the colon healthy, keeps everything running smoothly, and also helps to drag all the nasty toxins and impurities out of your system, all of which will contribute to a beautiful glowing complexion and weight loss.
10. EASY TO ADD INTO YOUR DIET
Pumpkin seeds have the major plus of being highly transportable for on the go snacks anytime, anywhere, and they can also be added easily into most meals or snacks. Add them into your breakfast muesli, make a delicious and crunchy homemade granola, use in baking, sprinkle onto salads, or anything else you can think of – just use your imagination.
Thank you for reading this article. If you have any questions or ideas on how you use your pumpkin seeds then please post below and I will be happy to answer as soon as I can.