In the last couple of years, it seems like pumpkin has been everywhere. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin-flavored coffee and even pumpkin stews and soups have been flying off the shelves.
But this year, it’s time to turn the tables a little bit. Instead of eating the actual meat of the pumpkin (the stuff in its outer walls), studies have shown that pumpkin seeds may be the better route to go.
Why is this exactly?
Well, first of all, they offer a ton of health benefits. They’re fibrous, they’re high in nutrients and minerals, and they have tons of omega-3s.
On top of this, pumpkin seeds can also help you lose weight.
That’s right: eating pumpkin seeds can actually help you burn calories, drop pounds and get rid of fat.
And who doesn’t want those kinds of results?
How Pumpkin Seeds Can Help
One of the biggest weight loss benefits of pumpkin seeds is their density. Though they might look small, they’re very dense, heavy foods, and they go a long way in filling you up and keeping you satiated. Over time, that means you’ll be hungry less and you’ll consume fewer calories – a crucial step toward losing weight.
Pumpkin seeds are also very high in fiber, and fiber offers a number of waist-reducing advantages. First, it takes longer for your body to digest, leaving you fuller longer and staving off those cravings. Second, it also helps keep your digestive tract working properly. That means no constipation, no gas and no bloating – all things that can leave you packing on the pounds.
Another way pumpkin seeds aide in weight loss is they stabilize your blood sugar. Because they’re easy for your body to digest and have a low glycemic index, they help your blood sugar levels remain more balanced. That means fewer unwanted cravings and more weight loss over time.
Pumpkin seeds are also high in iron, which can boost your energy levels across the board. That means more motivation to hit the gym, and the energy you need to push hard, go longer and burn more calories.
Other Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Aside from their fat-burning properties, pumpkin seeds can aide your health in many other ways.
First of all, they contain tryptophan (that sleep-inducing chemical found in Thanksgiving turkeys!). Once digested, this converts into serotonin in your body, and it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Pumpkin seeds can also improve your heart health. They’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to a healthy circulatory system, and they can even ward off heart disease. Additionally, thanks to the phytosterol content of pumpkin seeds, they can also lower your cholesterol levels as well.
But the benefits of pumpkin seeds don’t stop there. Pumpkin seeds can also:
- Alkalize the body’s pH levels. That means less illness, less pain and a lower chance of cancer on the whole.
- Protect the prostate. Pumpkin seeds also have a high zinc content, which makes them extra beneficial to men. They can ward off benign prostatic hyperplasia, and they can even protect the prostate from cancer.
- Boost the immune system. Pumpkin seeds contain carotenoids, compounds thought to naturally improve the immune system and its infection-fighting abilities.
- Improve overall health. Packed with vitamins and minerals, pumpkin seeds are a veritable powerhouse of health. They have vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, zinc and more, and they can give your body the nutrients it needs to succeed.
Pumpkin seeds (and pumpkins themselves) have even been shown to reduce the risk of premature death and lead to a longer, healthier life on the whole.
How to Eat and Find Pumpkin Seeds
Often, you can find roasted pumpkin seeds at your local health or bulk food store. They typically come both shelled and unshelled, and often, they may be labeled “pepitas.” If you opt for unshelled ones, make sure to add some extra fiber in your diet, as the shell accounts for most of the fibrous qualities of this little seed.
You can also prepare pumpkin seeds yourself. If you’re cooking pumpkin for a meal, simply remove the seeds from the inside, rinse them off and leave them to dry overnight. Then, toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with some sea salt and roast on a baking sheet for about 1 hour. Very simple!
Eating pumpkin seeds is even easier. You can snack on a handful when you’re feeling puckish, or you can use them to add a crunch to salads, smoothies, yogurts, oatmeals and more. They’re also great if you make your own granola or nut bars, and they’re delicious in a good old bowl of trail mix.
Start Eating Pumpkin Seeds Today
If pumpkin seeds aren’t already a part of your diet, it may be time to rethink that decision. Pumpkin seeds come with an immense number of benefits, and they can improve your health, better your immune system and boost your weight loss all at the same time.
What are your favorite ways to eat pumpkin seeds? Share them with me in the comments.