There’s evidence that pumpkin, has been cultivated since 8000 years ago. Its edible seeds also known as Pepitas (in Mexican cuisine) are a rich source of essential nutrients from minerals and vitamins to powerful antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds also provide high levels of quality fats and protein so why take a manufactured supplement when nature gives us something much better?
In a way, pumpkin seeds are similar to wine: they get better as they age. Studies revealed that pumpkin seeds stored for a long period increase their protein content. And let’s face it: pumpkin seeds (and other seeds and nuts) are a very comfortable snack: they are easy to store and carry around anywhere you go. Although pumpkin seeds do provide an array of nutritional health benefits, be aware of their high calorie contents: about 560 calories per 100 gr.
– Pumpkin seeds contain about 30% protein, only increasing their already high nutritional value. Even so, you shouldn’t rely on seeds to get your daily protein intake since they are highly caloric and there are other valuable sources of protein available (meat, eggs, soy…etc.). Nevertheless, pumpkin seeds are a great addition to a varied, healthy diet.
– Includes high levels of amino-acids tryptophan and glutamate. Tryptophan has an important role in the syntesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood, sleep and appetite. Glutamate is another amino-acid with a key role in cellular metabolism and the production of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA), an anti-stress neurotransmitter present in the central nervous system of mammals (humans included).
– Pumpkin seeds also contain an impressive collection of vitamins: B(B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9), C, E and K. B vitamins are essential in cellular metabolism, vitamin C has an important role in maintaining a good immune system, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant protecting our tissue cells from free radical damage and vitamin K is needed for blood coagulation, strong bones, heart disease prevention and other metabolic processes.
– Pepitas are a rich source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Manganese although needed in low amounts, is an essential nutrient found in many parts of the body such as bones, kidneys, liver and pancreas. Besides supporting the formation of connective tissue, manganese also plays an important role in proper brain and nerve function, regulating blood sugar levels and absorption of fat, carbohydrates and calcium.