Are pumpkin seeds good for you? You’ll be inclined to think so once you hear all about how these crunchy, highly underrated kernels can power up your life. Diet and mental health are closely linked. It’s important for both mental and physical health to eat the right foods. The good news is that you can modify your diet easily starting with your snacks. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack for when you need a mental boost. That is because the nutrients in pumpkin seeds are helpful for brain health.
Making pumpkin seeds healthy without adding sugar, salt and spices is easy. Their natural crunch and nutty flavor make them very nibble-worthy treats. I’m going to share an easy homemade pumpkin seed recipe in just a second! But first, let’s talk about why pumpkin seeds are one of the best mental wellness snacks.
What is the Link Between Diet and Mental Health?
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, nutrition plays a big role in overall mental health. It’s important to snack on foods that support both your mental and physical health.
Why Pumpkin Seeds are the Perfect “Mental Wellness” Snack
In addition to being satisfying and delicious, this snack packs in tons of feel-good vitamins and nutrients. It’s also a great nut-free snack for allergen-free zones! Let’s crack open the pumpkin seed to see why it provides the perfect “mental health” snack food!
Every pumpkin seed is a tiny powerhouse chock full of minerals that boost brainpower and mood. Pumpkin seeds keep us stable when a mix of jitters and hunger cause us to feel insatiable for processed snacks while traveling to be with family over the holidays. The hearty, satisfying crunch of pumpkin seeds gives us a festive, wholesome feeling while also feeding the brain what it needs to feel balanced.
Nutrients in Pumpkin Seeds:
- Potassium (930 milligrams per cup): Potassium helps us to feel balanced by promoting nerve function. It also regulates heartbeat while keeping blood pressure under control. Potassium is incredible for electrolyte balance and stress reduction to keep us feeling “even.”
- Magnesium (649 milligrams per cup): Great for reducing inflammation, magnesium helps to stabilize blood pressure and electrolyte balance. It’s a fantastic stress reducer. Low magnesium is linked with heightened anxiety.
- Iron (9.52 milligrams per cup): Studies link psychological disorders and low iron.
- Zinc (9.02 milligrams per cup): An imbalance of decreased zinc to increased copper has been linked with anxiety in studies Bonus time! Zinc can actually stave off travel sickness.
As you can see, there are a variety of things that make pumpkin seeds healthy. In addition, they also contain those omega-3 fatty acids that are known to reduce stress. In a 2008 study looking at the relationship between the consumption of fatty acids and mood issues, researchers found significant decreases in anger and anxiety scores when supplementation was used. All the more reason to grab for some healthy snacks when travel nuisances cause irritation to bubble up. Roasting pumpkin seeds is something that you can do at home. Here’s an easy-to-follow recipe.
- A medium-sized pumpkin. Go ahead and pull one off the front porch if it's still in good shape
- A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut and gut your pumpkin.
- Place seeds in a colander to carefully run them under water.
- Add salted water containing 4 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of pumpkin seeds you've extracted in a pot.
- Bring the water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes before draining.
- Lightly coat a roasting pan with olive oil.
- Bake the pan on the top rack until seeds are browned. This usually takes between 15 and 25 minutes. The seeds are done when you smell a wholesome, woody scent in the air!
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g
The final step is the big executive decision! How do you want to eat your seeds? While I like to eat them whole, some people prefer to crack them open. Want a healthy, quick snack to take with you on the go? Simply tuck them into a to-go container for your trip and you are good to go!
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