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6 Key Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds (And How to Add More to Your Plate)

6 Key Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds (And How to Add More to Your Plate)

When it comes to nutrition, pumpkin seeds pack a lot of bang for their buck. These tiny seeds are loaded with valuable nutrients that we need for health and wellbeing. Here are 4 key benefits of pumpkin seeds and tips for how to enjoy them in your day-to-day.

Macros galore

Macronutrients: we’re talking about protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Pumpkin seeds have a mix of them all. One ounce of pumpkin seeds gives you nearly nine grams of protein. That ounce of pumpkin seeds also has three grams of carbohydrates, two grams of which come as dietary fiber (hello, happy gut). But the real highlight of pumpkin seed macros is the mono- and polyunsaturated fats, aka the good types known to promote heart health.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins have a ton of minerals, too

Pumpkin seed nutrition doesn’t end with macronutrients: they’re a strong source of micronutrients too.

Let’s start with iron. A one-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds gets you about 14% of the daily value of this essential mineral. We need iron to help carry and store oxygen in the body and to make and repair DNA. Iron also plays an important role in energy metabolism.

Next up: zinc. Pumpkin seeds have a lot of it—one ounce gives you 2.21 mg of zinc---the daily value for zinc is 11mg (so that's 20% btw). This essential mineral plays a vital role in immune function, growth and development, vision, neurotransmission, and a whole lot more.

Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with copper, needed for energy production, central nervous system function, and gene regulation.

But wait, there’s more. Well, one more. The seeds also sneak in magnesium, a mineral involved in hundreds of metabolic reactions.

How to eat ‘em

Add them to salads for texture, sprinkle on soups (hello, butternut squash soup), they’re also great as a topping for stir fry and bowls.

Pumpkin seeds = phenolic compounds

Phenolics are compounds unique to plant foods. We don’t need them like we need macro and micronutrients (we won’t develop a deficiency without them), they just help kick our health up a notch. The ones found in pumpkin seeds can help keep cells healthy and protect against cell damage.

Pumpkins help heart health

Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients that contribute to cardiovascular health, such as magnesium and antioxidants. Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure levels and preventing hypertension, while antioxidants in vitamin E and zinc protect the heart by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are linked to heart disease (Source). Additionally, the unsaturated ("healthy") fats in pumpkin seeds are known to improve cholesterol levels, reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowering the risk for heart complications. (Source)

Pumpkin seeds may aid in sleep

Pumpkin seeds are naturally abundant in magnesium and tryptophan, two nutrients linked to improved sleep. Research suggests magnesium may improve sleep duration and sleep quality. (Source) Tryptophan, an amino acid in pumpkin seeds, is also known for its sleep-promoting properties. One preliminary study found that daily intake of 1 gram of tryptophan significantly improved sleep quality, although more research is needed. (Source)