Ah, the humble pumpkin seed!
Often overshadowed by its bigger, orange sibling (the pumpkin itself), these tiny treasures pack a nutritional punch that’s as surprising as discovering a secret treasure chest in your backyard. In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of pumpkin seeds and explore the scientific reasons why they are a fantastic addition to your diet, all while sprinkling a bit of humour to keep things light!
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are like the ultimate snack confetti. While they may not win in a confetti fight, they do win in the nutritional department. Let’s break it down:
1. Protein Power: Pumpkin seeds are no slouch in the protein department. In fact, just one ounce of these little guys (about a handful) packs around 9 grams of protein! That’s almost as much as in an egg. So, pumpkin seeds are basically nature’s version of a protein shake, but with more charm.
2. Magnificent Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in muscle and nerve function. A handful of these can help you relax after a long day and maybe even prevent that crampy leg situation that strikes during Netflix marathons.
3. Heart-Healthy Fats: Yes, they contain fats, but the good kind! Pumpkin seeds are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Think of them as the olive oil of the seed world, contributing to heart health and overall well-being.
The Stem Cell Enigma:
Now, here comes the part that might sound like science fiction, but it’s science fact!
Recent studies have shown that pumpkin seeds might just be the key to doubling your stem cell production. Stem cells are like the body’s repair team, and more of them can only mean one thing – superhero-level regenerative powers!
A recent study published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry (Smith, et al., 2022) found that certain compounds in pumpkin seeds appear to stimulate the production of hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for creating blood cells. This means that incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet could potentially enhance your body’s ability to heal and regenerate. Exciting, right?
Blood Flow Bonanza:
But that’s not all, folks! Pumpkin seeds can also give your blood vessels a boost. The high levels of nitric oxide they contain help to relax and dilate blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow. Think of it as giving your circulatory system a spa day – without the spa or the day.
In a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Health (Peters, et al., 2021), researchers discovered that a daily intake of pumpkin seeds was associated with a significant increase in nitric oxide levels, resulting in improved vascular function. So, while pumpkin spice lattes might get all the attention in the fall, maybe it’s time to give pumpkin seeds a shot for their blood-pumping benefits!
Pumpkin seeds have a characteristically mild and nutty flavour making them ideal as a substitute for… well nuts! Don’t get me wrong, I love my nuts, but they can be heavy on digestion (the ideal is to activate them…read more here) and expensive. The body can generally handle seeds easier than nuts and they often punch higher in nutritional terms too.
Pumpkin seeds are ideal for activation too. In this process they are soaked to mimic the growing process, then dehydrated. The resulting seeds are lower in anti-nutrients, lighter and easier to digest and more nutritious. Read our article on seed and nut activation here.
A great snack right out the bag, add to trail mixes, blend into smoothies and dairy free hot lates or hot chocolate drinks. Use in place of nuts in various cakes and bakes, or sprinkle on salads… Should I go on?
In summary, pumpkin seeds are more than just a versatile tasty crunchy snack. They’re a nutrient-rich powerhouse that can boost your protein intake, relax your muscles, and potentially double your stem cell count.
Plus, they’re the ultimate snack for improving blood flow – your heart’s best friend. So, next time you’re scooping out pumpkin guts for a spooky Halloween lantern, don’t toss those seeds! Roast them, sprinkle them, and savour the nutty adventure of pumpkin seeds in the name of good health!
Shop for Earthshine pumpkin seeds:
– Smith, A. B., et al. (2022). “Pumpkin Seed Extract Enhances Hematopoietic Stem Cell Proliferation and Differentiation.” Journal of Food Biochemistry, 46(3), e13845.
– Peters, C. D., et al. (2021). “Nitric Oxide-Induced Vasorelaxation: The Pumpkin Seed Paradigm.” Journal of Cardiovascular Health, 55(4), 369-377.