You don’t have to wait for jack-o’-lantern season to start eating pumpkin seeds: They’re a delicious snack all year round! Plus, pumpkin seeds have some incredible health benefits like soothing menopause symptoms, getting better sleep, and protecting your muscles.
Just like sunflower seeds, you’ll find many varieties of pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) at the grocery store. While there’s a few choices to pick from, your best bet is to buy a variety like Food to Live Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds (Buy at Walmart, $8.49) because they’re raw and unsalted. This allows you to get the most perks from the seeds in their purest form. You can eat a handful of them on their own or add to yogurt for a savory crunch alongside some berries. We’re also a fan of making a nutrient-rich snack mix with sesame, flax, and sunflower seeds.
Whichever way you go, a one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds will help protect your muscles with 42 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. The mineral is key for maintaining good bone and muscle health, which become even more important as we age to avoid fractures. They’re also packed with seven grams of protein per ounce, so your muscles will thank you by staying strong as you age.
If you’re having trouble catching those Zzzs at night, eating pumpkin seeds before bed may do the trick. The Sleep Association credits this to their high levels of magnesium and tryptophan, both which boost serotonin levels to relax your body. Dr. Oz suggests mixing one cup of seeds or 1/2 cup of pumpkin seed powder (Buy on Nuts.com, $11.99) with a cup of applesauce for a delicious late night snack that ensures an uninterrupted night of rest!
You might also want to try pumpkin seed oil, which is shown to help nix annoying menopause symptoms. A study published in Climacteric found that women who added two grams of oil everyday to their food or cooked with it experienced less hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain after 12 weeks.
Researchers claimed that the compounds in pumpkin seeds known as phytoestrogens were able to provide this relief and lower blood pressure levels. You can buy pumpkin seed oil from the store or online (Buy at Walmart, $10.99) to calm those pesky menopause symptoms.
No matter how you add more pumpkin seeds to your life, you’ll be sure to get a ton of yummy health benefits!
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