With Halloween in the air, I thought I’d introduce you to all of the goodness that is the humble pumpkin seed, also known as the pepita.  Forget exotic and expensive super foods, pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition.


Why they are super!


Protein, fats and fibre

Pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of protein, plant based omega 3 essential fatty acids and fibre – all macro nutrients in one little seed.


Minerals for kids

Pumpkin seeds are a super concentrated form of both magnesium and zinc.  It is for this reason they are so important for growing children. In my experience, these two minerals are very common deficiencies, particularly in fussy kids. A deficiency in these nutrients creates a number of disturbances to kids’ health, including:

  • Poor immune responses (propensity to infection)
  • Poor growth and development
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Mood and behavioural disorders
  • Skin conditions
  • Growing pains
  • Hormonal imbalance at sexual maturity
  • Poor appetite or an appetite only for simple carbohydrates, sweet and/or salty stuff (processed foods).  This is a particularly vicious circle as deficiency drives cravings for foods which further deplete their mineral levels.  Correcting nutritional deficiency is critical for not only improving the health of a deficient child, but creating a desire for nutrient dense foods.


For dads

Pumpkin seeds, due to their zinc levels, are very protective to the prostate.  Research suggests that a combination of pumpkin seeds, its oil and the herb Saw Palmetto is of great benefit in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).


For mums and bubs

Zinc is a critical nutrient for both male and female fertility. During pregnancy, zinc and magnesium are essential for the health of the mother and development of the baby.  Ensuring a mother’s zinc levels are adequate during pregnancy and at birth is so important.  According to Natural Fertility Management (NFM) specialist, Francesca Naish, adequate zinc levels are protective against the development of postnatal depression, help repair connective tissue trauma (quite a bit of that regardless of your birthing experience), prevent cracking nipples and are important for breast milk production.  Babies born with adequate zinc levels are generally more contented and cry less.


There is also growing evidence for the use of pumpkin seeds for the management of the symptoms of menopause.


Sleep and mood disturbance

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin (feel good hormone) and then melatonin (sleep hormone).  Plus they are rich in magnesium and zinc which both play a role in sleep and mood.


How to include them in your diet…

The obvious way is to just eat them.  They can be eaten raw, though to really make the most of these important minerals you might like to consider soaking or activating them.


You can also dehydrate or roast them at low temperatures – I think they taste better this way.  My kids actually dislike them raw, so I need to roast them.  I also grind them to add a zinc hit to my baking.


Visit www.wellnourished.com.au for loads of recipes including hidden pumpkin seeds.


Well Nourished

Well Nourished  

Founded by Georgia, a mum, cookbook author, naturopath with 19 years experience and the creator of The Well Nourished Lunch Box Challenge, Well Nourished delivers wholesome, easy-to-follow recipes targeted to busy families. Readers flock to Well Nourished for inspiring health advice and free, nourishing, family friendly recipes. // www.wellnourished.com.au