Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

It’s that time of year, Pumpkin carving season! As your scooping out all those slimy pumpkin guts, really get your hands messy and separate the pumpkin seeds. Eating the pumpkin seeds not only are a good way to get the most money out of your pumpkin, they furthermore provide health benefits. You can eat them by themselves or use them to spice up a salad, sautéed vegetables, trail mix, or oatmeal. To prepare the seeds, preheat the oven to 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit, then lay out separated pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet. Once the oven is ready, place the tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Be sure not to roast seeds for longer than 20 minutes otherwise the health benefits will decrease due to the heat causing changes in the fat structure of the seeds. One of the main benefits of pumpkin seeds is the zinc content. Zinc is important for the function of over 100 enzymes in the body which support your body’s processes. Functions that are affected include the immune system, DNA synthesis, wound healing, and growth development. Consuming the shell and seed together allows an intake of 10 milligrams of zinc per 3.5 ounces of seeds.  Additionally, they contain amino acid tryptophan which signals the brain to increase serotonin production. Serotonin is important to brain function as a means to regulate stress, mood, and appetite.  Why not have your pumpkin and eat it too!

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