Fall is in the air. Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling and pumpkin-flavored items are abundant. While most people love the taste of pumpkin, there is now research that shows that pumpkin seeds not only taste good, but are also good for you.
Pumpkin seeds are filled with nutritional benefits for the body and mind. From cancer risk reducing antioxidants to immune system boosters and healthy brain development, pumpkins seeds pack a nutritional power punch in a small package. Considered a “brain food”, Pumpkin seeds give the brain a boost of energy that makes it function better. At some point, people may experience a “brain fog” where they have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly. Pumpkin seeds contain the nutritional elements needed to help clear the fog.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are acknowledged for their benefit to healthy brain development, aiding in memory and improving mental health. Zinc, also found in the kernels, aids in healthy brain function. In addition, pumpkin seeds contain magnesium and Glutamate, known for reducing anxiety and having a calming effect on the brain. The high levels of the amino acid Tryptophan in the kernels may reduce feelings of mild depression, and it converts to serotonin, recognized as nature’s sleeping pill. A good night’s sleep can make a huge impact on a person’s ability to handle stress and regulate moods.
With so many positive attributes, these small seeds can make a large impact on brain health and function. To receive the nutritional benefits of pumpkin seeds, incorporate them into your diet as a salty or sweet addition. The kernels may be used as a salad or dessert topper or a great addition to a favorite recipe. Though pumpkin seeds are available year round, this is the time of year when fresh pumpkins are readily available.
This fall, while you are carving your pumpkins or making pie, don’t throw out the pumpkin seeds. Whether they are raw, toasted or roasted, they provide much needed nutrition and energy to the brain that aids in better mental health.
For more information on the services provided at Haven Senior Horizons of Phoenix, please call 623-236-2000 or visit us online at phoenix.havenbehavioral.com.