Pumpkin seeds (otherwise known as pepitas) are one of the best plant-based sources of zinc.
Shelled pumpkin seeds are a beautiful green color, flat and oval. They are easy to incorporate into your diet weekly, if not daily, for the flavor and nutrient density. They’re particularly common in Mexican cuisine, which is where the name pepita came from. Pepita is derived from the Mexican Spanish phrase, “pepita de calabaza”, simply meaning little seed of squash.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds not only taste great but have been shown to help with general antioxidant support, most notably from vitamin E. Additionally, while the Standard American Diet is particularly low in minerals, pumpkin seeds are loaded with them! Therefore they are a great food component to incorporate often.
Pumpkin seeds, oils and extracts all have unique antimicrobial benefits from the lignans in these seeds. Pumpkin seeds have also been studied in relation to anti-cancer, cardiovascular and blood pressure benefits. They have even been shown to benefit benign prostatic hyperplasia (i.e. prostate enlargement).
Nutrient Breakdown of Pumpkin Seeds:
*Per 1 cup
- Protein | 12g
- Healthy fats | 12g
- Iron | 12% DV
- Magnesium | 42% DV
- Potassium | 17% DV
- Zinc | 44% DV
- Copper | 22% DV
- Manganese | 16% DV
- Antioxidants | phenolic antioxidants
How To Use:
Pumpkin seeds can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, porridge, in granola, muesli, salads, baked goods and trail mixes. They’re often roasted and consumed as a snack on their own as well!
The Best Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
If purchasing seeds in bulk, store half in the freezer to keep from going rancid and keep the rest in the pantry for quick use. If you ever decorate pumpkins in the fall for Halloween, you can clean and roast the pumpkin seeds you carve out of the center!