Subtly sweet and nutty with a malleable, chewy texture, the roasted seeds from inside your Halloween pumpkin are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around. While pumpkin seeds are available year round, they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk, although some varieties of pumpkins produce seeds without shells. Like cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds belong to the gourd or Cucurbitaceae family.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination
associated with an enlarged prostate.
Improved Bladder Function
In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against
osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of
Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
Treatment of Parasites
They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other
parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis,
a parasite contracted from snails.
Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a
mineral in which most Americans are deficient.
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to
reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.