If you’ve ever carved a jack-o’-lantern, you likely have some experience scooping out bucketfuls of pumpkin seeds. When cleaned, oven roasted, and seasoned to perfection, these once-slimy seeds (which, let’s be honest, hold little appeal) almost magically transform into a delicious, family-friendly snack. There’s plenty of reasons to seek this snack out beyond the fall season as well—chock full of surprising health benefits, you can easily bring the power of pumpkin seeds to your lunch boxes and beyond, all year-round.
Seeds of the Past and Present
The first traces of this fall-favorite food can be traced back over 7,500 years to Central America. Although these first domesticated pumpkins were likely more bitter in taste, the eventual popularity of sweeter recipes appears to have originated with ginger-spiced milk combined with roasted pumpkin shells.
Today, many people simply enjoy a handful of salted pumpkin seeds as a snack that can be brought from school to work, but their uses vary widely—pumpkin seeds make a perfect salad topper for some extra crunch, are often baked into breads, and might even be found on the ingredient list of some of our go-to soups and dips. When extracted for its oil, these seeds can also serve as a nutritious, nuttier cooking oil alternative. They even show some reparative properties that can be used for DIY hair or skin treatments (freshly-extracted pumpkin seeds can work for those willing to get their hands dirty, but oil-based recipes seem to be the more fuss-free option). Some evidence suggests that pumpkin seed oil can also help counteract hair loss.
The Power of Pumpkin Seeds
Touting so many benefits, you may be wondering, what exactly is in pumpkin seeds? Sometimes it's the tiniest foods that have the most impressive nutritional profile: pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, and so many other nutrients and minerals. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the essentials that pumpkin seeds have to offer.
Pumpkin seeds outshine even almonds when it comes to protein content. Originating from the Greek root protos, meaning “first place,” protein’s name alone speaks to how crucial it is for our health. Protein affects everything from our blood, bones, and body tissue, to immune function and hair health. Although not a complete protein on its own, pumpkin seeds still contain all nine essential amino acids (the “building blocks” of protein) in some amount—simply pair pumpkin with other nuts and seeds to take its protein potential to the next level.
Protein per 1-oz serving: approx. 9 g
Often lacking in the average Western diet, magnesium is a key to healthy bone formation, and high magnesium intake is specifically linked to higher bone density. There is also promising research that suggests it’s positively associated with improved regulation of blood sugar levels and, by extension, less risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds can help us reach 42 percent of our recommended daily magnesium intake.
Magnesium per 1-oz serving: approx. 168 mg
Women in particular are susceptible to iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia and all kinds of related health issues. Although we’re often advised to look to red meats for a good dose of iron, pumpkin seeds are a powerful, vegan-friendly option that you can easily add into your family’s day-to-day diet.
Iron per 1-oz serving: approx. 3 mg
Topping the list of nuts and seeds with the most zinc content, pumpkin seeds can give us a much-needed boost of this essential mineral. Zinc is known for its role in maintaining healthy immune function, and it even promotes better wound healing—this can make zinc great all around, but especially so for kids, who are more prone to scrapes and sniffles!
Zinc per 1-oz serving: approx. 2 mg
A Perfect Pumpkin Snack
Add the perfect serving size of pumpkin seeds to your family’s lunch boxes this fall with Eden Foods Pumpkin Seeds Pocket Snacks. Made in easily packed and stored portion sizes, these snacks are also low in sodium, cholesterol-free, and ethically sourced and produced. Try the Pumpkin Pocket Snacks for a classic and family-friendly flavor, or bring up the heat a little with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Pocket Snacks. Whatever your taste and lifestyle, Eden Foods has you covered.
Founded in 1968, Eden Foods is the oldest principled independent organic food company in the United States. Its mission is Creation and Maintenance of Purity in Food. Eden brand is the authentic alternative to commercial food; the purest, best tasting grains, beans, and vegetables on the planet, from known trusted growers. Healthy soil, long-term organic, non-GMO.