Pumpkins are the quintessential addition to any Autumn celebration or decor. The next time you scoop and saw your way to this year’s jack-o-lantern, you may want to think twice before ditching those slimy innards.
Amongst the webs of the slippery, orange flesh hides a powerhouse of nutrition in a petite package. I am talking about pumpkin seeds. Here are five reasons you should be munching your way throughout the year on these otherwise seasonal seeds.
1. Fiber: One of the major nutrients packed inside pumpkin seeds is fiber. Getting enough fiber in the diet is helpful for regular digestion, prevention of heart disease risk, and regulating blood sugar levels.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult women should aim to consume 25 grams of fiber a day, and men should aim for 38 grams per day. A one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds provides five grams of fiber, or about a quarter of the recommended daily amount.
2. Protein: An essential nutrient for muscle growth and development, protein is also considered the most satiating macronutrient. This means that it keeps you feeling full longer than either carbohydrates or fats. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein, providing five grams in each one ounce serving.
3. Healthy Fats: Nuts and seeds are often known for containing a high amount of calories and fat. While this is true, it does not mean that these foods are bad for you. Nuts and seeds contain the heart-healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, which help prevent the risk of heart attacks and heart disease.
4. Vitamin E: Along with the healthy fats comes fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds, is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it can help protect the body against harmful free radicals that can contribute to certain diseases and cancers. Vitamin E has also been shown to contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails.
5. Potassium: Not only found in bananas, pumpkin seeds are also a valuable source of potassium in the diet. Essential for electrolyte balance, muscle contraction and proper digestion, potassium plays a big role in the health of the body. A one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds provides about 229 mg of potassium, which equates to about 6 percent of the recommended daily amount.
Not only are pumpkin seeds a tasty and satisfying snack, they also provide a wealth of nutrients the body needs each and every day. If taste wasn’t enough of a reason, these five health benefits may encourage you to increase your consumption of pumpkin seeds on a regular basis.