Why eat pumpkin seeds?

May 8, 2019 6:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

We sell dark green, crunchy organic pumpkin seeds by the bucketload at Naturally Good Food! We’ve got them in all sizes, from tiny snack packs, up to bulk 25kg bags. Our most popular pack size is probably the 1kg bag: it has a long shelf-life and provides enough seeds for one person’s daily diet for weeks, at a very reasonable price.

Looking for magnesium and zinc? You need pumpkin seeds!

Pumpkin seeds taste good

Pumpkin seeds are the seed you really know you’ve eaten. They’ve got a pleasantly distinctive taste and (compared with some of the smaller seeds), a substantial heft and crunch. They make a great little snack – something to keep you going between meals. When mixed in with other seeds, nuts and dried fruit – perhaps in trail mix, on a seeded loaf or in a flapjack – finding a pumpkin seed is like hitting the jackpot: it’s the big man of the seed world!

Pumpkin seeds are good for you

Each and every pumpkin seed is packed full of nutrients. Let’s take a look at what you’ll find in them.

Magnesium: pumpkin seeds are one of the very best natural sources of magnesium. This mineral regulates our muscle and nerve function, keeps blood sugar levels and blood pressure stable, assists in the manufacture of proteins, bones and DNA, and is particularly good for memory function.

Zinc: the other big nutritional component of a pumpkin seed is zinc. This mineral boosts our immune systems and helps our bodies make protein and DNA (making it vital for reproductive health). Zinc also helps wounds heal and muscles grow and repair and gives us our proper sense of taste and smell.

Magnesium and zinc are often cited as the two most important components of pumpkin seeds. If you’re looking for an ingredient that will help to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure under control, or are suffering from fertility problems, pumpkin seeds are quite possibly the answer. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, and worried that you’re not getting enough zinc in your meat-free diet, you should really try to incorporate a handful of these seeds into your meals or snacks each day.

As well as magnesium and zinc, a handful of pumpkin seeds will see you benefit from many other nutrients. They also contain:

Protein: this is what we use in our bodies to build and repair tissue. We need protein from food to make our enzymes, hormones, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.

Omega-3 unsaturated fats: these essential fatty acids cannot be generated by our bodies themselves, but must be obtained from food, such as pumpkin seeds. They’re ‘essential’ because they help our bodies fight inflammation, lower our blood pressure, promote proper sleep and soothe our skin.

Phytosterols: these are found in the cell membranes of plants. They’re structurally similar to cholesterol and are absorbed in its place in our bodies, thus lowering our cholesterol levels.

Antioxidants: antioxidants prevent or slow the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body. Without antioxidants, DNA is altered, leading to the development of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease.

Fibre: pumpkin seeds are a really good source of fibre. This element is well-known for its ability to improve digestive health, but also plays a role in preventing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Manganese: manganese helps our bodies form connective tissue and bones. It assists with blood clotting and in the production of sex hormones. It also plays a role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates from food and in the absorption of calcium, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. In addition, it’s essential for the normal functioning of our brains and nerves.

Copper: copper works with iron to form red blood cells in the body (it helps us absorb iron, too). It plays an important role in maintaining strong bones, blood vessels and nerves and keeps our immune systems working well.

Tryptophan: an essential amino acid found in plant and animal proteins, including in pumpkin seeds, this is converted in our bodies to melatonin and serotonin, the hormones that relax us and keep us upbeat.

Selenium: selenium is needed for proper thyroid function, for maintenance of our immune system and for healing wounds.

Calcium: calcium builds bones and keeps them healthy. It helps our blood clot, our muscles contract and our nerves send messages.

Beta-carotene: we convert the beta-carotene in pumpkin seeds into Vitamin A in our bodies. This is the vitamin that’s essential for normal vision and for the correct working of our immune and reproductive systems.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is needed to regulate blood clotting in the body. It’s necessary for bone health and assists with the transportation of calcium through the body.

Vitamin B2: also known as riboflavin, this helps the body absorb and activate iron and folic acid and the other B vitamins.

Folate: well-known as an important element in reproductive health, folate is needed to make DNA and other genetic material and enables cells to divide.

Phosphorus: phosphorus helps filter out the waste in our kidneys. Along with calcium, it keeps our bones strong and healthy, and also plays an essential role in the storage and use of the energy we obtain from food.

Potassium: potassium works with sodium to maintain normal blood pressure and the correct balance of fluids in the body.

Iron: iron is what our body uses to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around our body.

What should I do with my pumpkin seeds?

At Naturally Good Food, we love eating pumpkin seeds raw. They’re great toasted too, which enhances their flavour.

But many of our pumpkin seeds are destined for even greater things. Bags of them leave our building on their way into fantastic flapjacks and baked goods. Some go off to be candied, or spiced. Others will be sprinkled onto or into yoghurts, muesli mixes or salads – or perhaps made into a tasty pesto, as in this recipe here.

A note on Austrian pumpkin seeds

Most of our organic pumpkin seeds come from China. However, we also stock Austrian-grown Styrian pumpkin seeds, which are much darker in colour and usually have a firmer texture. This variety of pumpkin produces seeds without an inedible outer shell. Styrian pumpkin seeds are believed to contain the highest levels of nutrients of all pumpkin seeds. Their higher price reflects the costs of organic growth and their relative scarcity. If you can’t get hold of them, our other organic pumpkin seeds are highly recommended!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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