Of all the members of the squash family, pumpkin is perhaps the most underrated and underappreciated member. And while most home cooks savour the vegetable in its canned form, there’s nothing like fresh pumpkin to take your curries and pies to the next level.
The only thing is that carving a fresh pumpkin produces a lot of waste, from the skin to the fibrous innards and the seeds. But these seeds are a valuable treasure-trove of nutrition.
It’s All in the Seeds
Like many vegetables and fruits, the seeds of the pumpkin are packed with nutrition in a very small space. They can be eaten raw or toasted, in other foods or by the handful, or crushed to make pumpkin seed butter.
The benefit of eating whole seeds (with the shell intact) is the fiber content of the shell, as it adds sixty percent more fiber than just the seed itself. Toasted, the shell adds a nice crunch.
Other than having the ability to grow a new plant, pumpkin seeds can actually keep your body in prime shape. Here are just a few reasons to get on board with pumpkin seeds.
1. They Prevent cancer
Processed foods, personal care products, and food packaging contain chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. There is also evidence that links some of these products to cancer in humans.
Pumpkin seeds contain hormone regulators and antioxidants that can reduce the impact of endocrine disruptors and prevent the formation of cancerous cells. Studies prove the efficacy of these seeds in fighting breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells.
The high zinc content in pumpkin seeds are effective in detoxifying the testes and may even be considered an aphrodisiac (1, 2, 3). Rich, too, in antioxidants and vitamin E, pumpkin seeds reduce cell oxidation and inflammation that can lead to many other diseases.