Raw organic pumpkin seeds are one of Nature’s perfect foods. Did you know that this amazing, little green seed contains 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?
The pumpkin seed also pack a high nutritional punch with its vitamin and mineral content too!
In this post we will discuss the raw organic pumpkin seed’s top 10 health benefits and why you will most definitely be wanting to add these into your diet as soon as possible.
Pumpkin seeds are SO versatile
Humans have been eating raw seeds for nutrition since we evolved millions of years ago, and this also makes them the perfect Paleo food that your body will love.
You can add the versatile pumpkin seeds to many dishes. They are a rich source of iron, making them perfect on a plant based diet to help meet your quota.
Add them 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. Heat treatment will not only destabilise their lovely healthy omega fats, but will also destroy many of their healthful nutrients and antioxidants.
Buy Organic Pumpkin Seeds
Buying organic seeds is always best because 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. To be on the safe side, always opt for organic where possible.
Before we start with 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
Fibre 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. This in turn may help lower your risk of certain age related diseases, and will also help give your skin youthful glow.
Antioxidant rich foods 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. 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. 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.
It also so happens that many of us in the Western culture are chronically deficient in this mineral, so there’s a good a reason as any to munch down on this delicious, nutty seed.
Possible magnesium deficiency symptoms:-
- Mental problems, such as anxiety, depression and irritability
- Muscle and body aches, pains and spasms, back pain
- Thyroid disorders
- Coldness of extremities such as feet, hands, and nose
- Sugar cravings
- Dental problems
- Kidney Stones
- Gut and stomach problems
3. WEIGHT LOSS
Yes, 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. They should, however, 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 to actually lose weight still. Always count them towards your daily fat, carb and calorie load if you don’t want to gain weight. Pumpkin seeds are NO different!
Make our amazing, fat burning, morning granola with lots of other weight loss ingredients.
4. 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 good condition. These elements include antioxidants, EFFA’s, zinc and magnesium – all good for heart health.
All of these nutrients combined can help lower blood pressure and boost good LDL cholesterol levels.
Add a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to your morning cereal to boost heart health, alongside a healthy diet and exercise plan.
5. BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
This next major benefit of pumpkin seed’s is there magnesium and it’s effect on blood sugar. ,Not only are pumpkin seeds low GI, 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.
6. SPERM QUALITY
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.
Try to eat a good handful of raw, unroasted pumpkin seeds every day if you wish to have these benefits.
The magnesium in pumpkin seed’s are great for relaxing muscles, calming nerves, and ultimately helping you to sleep more soundly and deeply. Pumpkin seeds 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 melatonin hormone to kick in in order to get a good nights sleep. 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 sleep benefits. This 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 to your diet too.
There is no need to try and eat all these foods last thing at night. You can eat them all day long and the effects will come together when your body is ready to sleep. 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 mental problems problems can literally ruin your life and must be dealt with promptly.
Pumpkin seeds (due to their high magnesium and mineral content and 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, DHA supplements and CRUCIALLY a good exercise plan, preferably with some kind of weights or resistance training will also help.
Remember, it’s always best to consult your doctor as soon as possible if you think you may be suffering from any of these issues.
9. GUT PROBLEMS
The fibre content in pumpkin seeds, as in other high fibre foods, is extremely good for digestive health and the gut in general.
Fibre keeps the colon healthy and everything running smoothly. It 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 benefit of being highly transportable for an on-the-go snack anytime, anywhere.
They can also be added easily into most meals or snacks, especially breakfast smoothies and cereals. Or, mix them into a homemade trail mix, salad topper or add to baking. There are many inventive ways to get this nutty, mild seed into your diet with much bother.