I love everything about pumpkins, including their seeds. As a kid I loved tearing them out of our carved pumpkins at Halloween, and cleaning them to roast in the oven. But these days it’s easy to find raw, sprouted, and roasted pumpkin seeds year-round.
A one-ounce portion (roughly a quarter cup) provides about 150 calories, 15 grams of healthful fat, just a few grams of carbs, and an impressive 8 to 10 grams of plant protein. They’re also nutrient-packed, and health protective. Here are six key pumpkin seed perks, and some simple ways to incorporate them into your meals and snacks.
High in magnesium and other minerals
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. Magnesium helps improve mood and sleep, while manganese plays a role in collagen production and promotes skin and bone health. Iron and copper are involved with energy production, and iron also helps transport oxygen to our cells. Zinc supports immunity, skin health, and vision. Just one serving of pumpkin seeds can supply 14 to 42% of the daily target for these essential nutrients.
High in antioxidants
In addition to minerals, these mighty seeds are also packed with cell protective antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin E. In addition to reducing inflammation, antioxidants help fend off premature aging and chronic diseases.
Full of beneficial fats
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Only a small fraction of ALA gets converted into the important DHA and EPA omega-3s, which are found in fatty fish like salmon. However, the benefits of ALA include heart disease protection, reduced risk of artery hardening, and anti-inflammation.