Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds, covered with a yellow-white husk. Pumpkin seeds are available all year long but they are freshest in the pumpkin season. Pumpkin seeds are a popular snack, sold in many grocery stores all over the country, and roasting pumpkin seeds is a popular Halloween treat. The oil inside of the pumpkin seeds is sometimes pressed and used as healthy nutritional oil.
Health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of vital nutrients such as essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, and phytosterols protein and fiber. They are also said to lower cholesterol levels. One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk.Recent studies have reported that certain compounds found in pumpkin seed oils have the ability to prevent prostate cancer. Zinc, one of the major ingredients in pumpkin seeds, may be responsible for the beneficial effect of pumpkin seeds in support of the prostate. However, this is yet to be investigated.
Foods rich in zinc, such as pumpkin seeds, are important for bone density and should be a regular part of the healthy diet especially, in the elderly population. Pumpkin seeds may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenstrual women and older men.
One quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds is loaded with nutrients. From this small dose of tasteful snack one can obtain as much as 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the daily value for iron, 52.0% of the daily value for manganese, 24.0% of the daily value for copper, 16.9% of the daily value for protein, and 17.1% of the daily value for zinc.Pumpkin seeds in diet
Healthy and available all year round, pumpkins are an often used ingredient in many international cuisines. Roasted pumpkin seeds are commonly used for soups and salads, to add a rich nutty flavor. Pumpkin seed oil is often used for frying and as a salad dressing. However, the most popular use of pumpkin seeds is in a form of a snack. Roasted pumpkin seeds are the tastiest solution, but most of the essential fatty acids disappear in the course of the thermal processing. The best way to incorporate pumpkin seeds into the diet is to eat them raw. Pumpkin seeds should be stored in the refrigerator, so that the oil in them does not turn rancid.
If buying pumpkin seed oil, it is advisable to check the labels. Pumpkin seed oil is often mixed with a common sunflower oil, to reduce the cost.