pumpkin seeds

Seasonal Foods as Medicine: Pumpkin Seeds

The pumpkin is a ubiquitous symbol of winter, as evidenced by the gourd being prominently displayed on porches everywhere during this season. However, there is a lot more to pumpkins than simple decoration! Pumpkins have great nutritional and health benefits, in particular the part that all-too often gets tossed down the disposal. Of course, I am talking about the seeds!

Seeds in general are nutritionally revered as a good source of minerals, protein, and healthy fat. Our western diets tend to be high in pro-inflammatory saturated fats. Thus, anti-inflammatory unsaturated fats including the omega 3’s found in pumpkin seeds are a necessary dietary component. Pumpkin seeds also contain significant amounts of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, and vitamin K, all of which are essential for robust health.

There are lesser-known medicinal uses of pumpkin seeds that may surprise you... The seed husks can be used to treat parasitic illnesses such as giardiasis, roundworm, and pinworm. The seeds can also be used to prevent and treat kidney stones. In fact, they can even help with another urinary condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition seen in men. This can cause urinary frequency or incomplete voiding due to enlargement of the prostate gland. In women, the lignans found in pumpkin seeds can be used to regulate estrogen production and balance hormones in general.

Here’s an easy recipe to help you enjoy this greatly underestimated but mightily amazing part of the pumpkin:

Quick and Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

Toss a handful of raw seeds with ½ tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings such as salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme etc… Spread the seeds flat on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Gently mix the seeds every 10 minutes while they are baking, to ensure extra crispiness. Enjoy!