By: Andrea Ervin – HHN Staff
After carving that perfect Jack-O-Lantern this Halloween, don’t forget to save those pumpkin seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack, and they also have many health benefits.
What is in a Pumpkin Seed?
Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are full of valuable nutrients. They contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, tryptophan, iron, copper, vitamins A, B, and K, zinc, calcium and protein.
Help Promote Prostate Health
BHP is a condition that often affects men age 50 and older. BHP is an enlargement of the prostate gland caused in part by overstimulation of prostate cells by testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Pumpkin seed oil interferes with this overstimulation, therefore promoting prostate health. It can also help alleviate difficult urination caused by prostate enlargement.
Pumpkin seeds naturally reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaging fat in joint linings, a side effect that can contributes to the progression of arthritis. For Depression Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, which is a natural compound that helps battle depression. It is unknown if they contain enough of the compound to reverse severe depression, but may be used for mild depression or for preventative medicine.
Phytosterols are compounds found in nature that are believed to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This compound is found naturally in pumpkin seeds, soy beans, corn and pine tree oil.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc. Zinc can help stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone loss, making it natural osteoporosis preventer.
In addition, pumpkin seeds can relieve constipation, dissolve gall stones, reduce obesity, help prevent formulation of kidney stones, relieves exhaustion and is beneficial for hair, teeth and nails.
How to Prepare
After carving your pumpkin, carefully separate the seeds and wash them to remove pumpkin pulp. Spread them out evenly on a paper towel or bag to let them dry out overnight. Then place them as a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast them at an oven temperature of 150 to 170 degrees for around 15 to 20 minutes. Once prepared, they can be consumed by themselves with or without shells. The shell can also be removed making it a healthy and delicious addition to a salad, on your favorite cereal or oatmeal, and can even be baked into cookies. Enjoy!