It’s pumpkin time! Pumpkins are a traditional part of fall, including being the tasty filling for Thanksgiving pie. Before you throw away the pumpkin seeds, Dr. Martha Howard of Wellness of Chicago offers these amazing health benefits. (And, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of drying and roasting them, you can always just buy pumpkin seeds.)
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:
· Helps raise good cholesterol, HDL, and lower bad cholesterol, LDL, because they contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.
· Nature’s “happy pills” – contain lots of tryptophan, good for relaxation and sleep, and also glutamate, a precursor of GABA, one of the neurotransmitters that calms the brain.
· Full of magnesium and zinc – Magnesium is hard to come by in the American diet, and a majority of us are deficient in it. Zinc is also a common deficiency. It is important to have enough zinc because it is one of the most important elements in preventing osteoporosis.
· Contains fiber – which increases the satisfied “full feeling” that keeps you from getting hungry and binge eating.
· Natural anti-inflammatory – effectively reduces inflammation helping with arthritis.
· Used in traditional cultures – prevents and treats parasites.
· Helps prevent kidney stones – prevents calcium oxalate formation.
What about pumpkin itself? It has beta carotene and potassium. Beta carotene, the same B vitamin that is in carrots, is a player in preventing everything from cancer to wrinkles! A cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana - it’s going to have to be a good sized piece of pie to get a cup!