When I was younger, and my elementary class would carve a pumpkin to celebrate Halloween in class, my teachers would always save the pumpkin seeds. She would bring them home to clean and roast and then the class would have a snack the next day. The seeds were so crunchy and yummy, not like the slimy version after carving. Now that I’m older, and I carve pumpkins with my own kids, I always save the seeds to roast for a snack.
Many people may not realize the various health benefits of pumpkin seeds. When you are carving your jack-o-lantern for Halloween or preparing your holiday pie, you may want to toss the seeds along with the other pumpkin “gunk” into the trash. However, with so many health benefits of pumpkin seeds, you owe it to your body to keep them for snacks!
7 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
- Bladder and Kidney Function: Pumpkin seeds contain chemicals that work as a natural diuretic, which can help your bladder and kidneys function better. Bladder discomfort has been relieved by eating the seeds daily as a snack. Additionally, the seeds can help reduce the chances of kidney stones, due to their ability to lower substances found in the urine that cause stones to occur.
- Anti-inflammation: The oil from pumpkin seeds has been known to contain anti-inflammatory agents. Some studies have found consuming the seeds to be as effective as taking medication for the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis. The bonus is that eating the seeds is natural and doesn’t come with the possible side effects of medicines!
- Heart Health: Just 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds meet half of the daily recommended intake of magnesium, which is very helpful to your heart. Magnesium helps your heart and blood vessels work effectively. Another bonus: magnesium also contributes to healthy teeth and bones!
- Better Sleep: Pumpkin seeds contain an abundance of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted by the body to serotonin. The serotonin is then converted into melatonin, the hormone known for its ability to help you sleep. Have a snack of pumpkin seeds and a carb such as fruit or whole grains each night to help your body fall into restful sleep.
- Diabetes Management: Studies have suggested that eating pumpkin seeds can help your body regulate insulin production. This can, in turn, reduce the chances of complications for diabetic patients. It can also help those diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
- Men’s Prostate Health: Because they are rich in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a recommended snack for older men, especially those facing prostatic complications. The seeds and their oils can help to treat an enlarged prostate. The zinc can also benefit older men who are concerned about developing osteoporosis.
- Nutrition: Pumpkin seeds are filled with a number of helpful antioxidants, including Vitamin E, manganese, zinc, and Vitamin K. Minerals found in the seeds also include iron, copper, and potassium. This abundance of nutrients alone makes pumpkin seeds a healthy snack.
The Best Way to Eat Pumpkin Seeds
The best way to consume pumpkin seeds – in order to maximize their health benefits – is to eat them raw. This keeps their nutrient and minerals intact for you to consume. Choose organic seeds if possible, so you don’t have to worry about pesticide contamination. If you like them roasted, do it at home so you can prepare them without losing too much of their health value. Roast your own pumpkin seeds for 15-20 minutes at a temperature no higher than 170 degrees F.