Pumpkins are not just a fun thing to have around for Halloween, they are a grocery item that stores many health benefits.
While people don’t actually eat the pumpkin itself, except the edible ones that we grow specifically for eating, the seeds are edible and they are actually quite healthy.
When did people first discovered pumpkins
Pumpkins as food have been around from as long as 5500 before Common Era. They are known to have originated in North America where they had multiple uses, among which medicinal, household use, decorative and in the kitchen.
Native Americans in the past would dry strips of pumpkin to make mats while people in the pre-Columbian era consumed a different variety of pumpkin as food.
More closely to our days, pumpkin was introduced as food in the seventieth century first as a mashed dish, then in various ways as women of the era introduced other recipes as per their own unique style.
Pumpkin seeds and their popularity around the world
Pumpkin seeds today are consumed in a variety of ways everywhere around the world.
• In Mexican cuisine, pumpkin seeds are referred to as pepitas, which are the hulled pumpkin seeds. They are eaten as is, although many times they are roasted, simple or with salt & spices and eaten as a snack.
Pepitas are also used to make sauces, such as Mole sauce also known as Pipians used to serve grilled meats or dips that are great to serve with tortilla chips.
• Pumpkin seeds are a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine where they are mostly consumed in salads or as a snack.
A popular Korean dish uses pumpkin flesh to make Hobakjuk, a type of porridge meal whereas in Japan kabocha squash is deep-fried, cooked into croquette or added to cake batter.
• In European cuisine, pumpkin seeds are widely used as a snack and often added to salads. In various cultures, a mix of honey and pumpkin seeds is used for therapeutic purposes to treat insomnia, bronchial asthma, intestinal worms and other conditions.
Pumpkin seeds nutrients and health benefits
A widely known purpose of pumpkin seeds is body detoxification. Pumpkin seeds are known to alleviate constipation and cleanse the body of parasites.
• They are an excellent source of antioxidants, particularly carotenoids largely found also in carrots and other orange-colored foods.
As such, pumpkin seeds are great for combating cardiovascular problems and improving heart health.
• They also contain ALA or alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acids known to prevent heart issues and help with atherosclerosis.
• Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is a very important nutrient for body functions. Zinc decreases the risk of infections in the body and helps fight against cancer.
• They contain magnesium, which helps with bone formation in children and supports healthy bones.
• They are high in fiber, and as such promote good digestion, and help with feeling full for a longer time.
You can consume a handful of pumpkin seeds a day to reap most of the benefits.
Knowing that 100 grams of pumpkin seeds contain approximately 30 grams of protein, 40 grams of fat, 70 grams of calcium, 16 grams of iron, 78 grams of calcium and 90 grams magnesium, you’re sure to receive a daily dose of good health with your meal every day.