Pumpkins are in season – even though Halloween is over, those giant winter squashes remain piled in most supermarkets. They’re great for roasting, mashing or baking, but don’t throw away the seeds – they make a wonderfully crunchy nibble that’s high in fiber and protein. Dr. Martha Howard of Wellness of Chicago offers these amazing health benefits.
And of course the pumpkin itself is a nutritional powerhouse – high in fiber and low in calories, it also contains beta carotene and potassium; beta carotene, the same B vitamin that makes carrots orange, is known to reduce the risk of some cancers, and a cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana.
Here’s what Dr. Martha Howard has to say about the benefits of the seeds themselves:
· 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.