6 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

just pumpkin seeds pleaseHalloween and October may be a great time of year for pumpkins, but don’t forget the pumpkin seeds. Their nutrition content is high, they are satiating and, not surprisingly they are paleo.

You can incorporate them into your diet all year round, whether you eat the pepita seeds plain, get a pumpkin seed oil supplement (what?) or make paleo pumpkin bars (did you know that you can buy raw pumpkin seed snacks too?)

OK, So what’s the nutritional content of pumpkin seeds?

Per 1 cup serving, you get:

  • 12 grams of fiber
  • 12 grams of protein
  • 42% RDA of magnesium
  • 16% FDA of potassium
  • 11% RDA of iron

These are good-looking nutritional stats, but so what?
According to Mercola.com:

  • The magnesium helps with bone formation and is beneficial for blood pressure
  • Pumpkin seeds are one of the top sources for plant-based omega 3 fatty acids
  • These seeds also contain tryptophan, which helps promote restful sleep
  • Animal tests have shown the seeds to help regulate insulin levels
  • Pumpkin seed oil to have anti inflammatory effects
  • The oil is also rich in phytoestrogens, which can be beneficial to post-menopausal women

What about Raw vs Roasted Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?

Both versions are good for you. However, one thing to keep in mind if you plan on roasting your seeds is that you want to roast them for less than 20 minutes. WHfoods.com states that roasting seeds for longer will change the structure of the fats, making them not as beneficial.

Because they are so nutrient dense and provide a variety of health benefits, it makes sense to incorporate these seeds into our diet on a regular basis. Because they are so portable and filling, they make great snacks. Let’s take a look.

Here is a unique recipe that reminds me of trail mix. It contains dried cranberries in addition to pepitas. You can make a bunch at one time and portion it into small bags for on-the-go snacks, yogurt or oatmeal toppings or simply eating when you need a quick snack. The recipe calls for sugar, but I use stevia instead or no sweetener at all.

If you’re like me, you may not be much of a chef in the kitchen. Pre-packaged snacks may be more up your alley – if their nutritious. Go Raw makes Live Paleo Pumpkin Bars that also contain flax seeds and dates – all organic.

You Mentioned Pumpkin Seed Oil…

Yes I did. This is actually fairly new to me. I didn’t know you could buy this until I started researching the benefits of pumpkin seeds. It’s available in capsule form and a 60-day supply costs only about $10.

It is promoted as supporting healthy prostate function. However, users have reported a variety of other beneficial side effects as well. Here are a few:

  • Arthritis relief
  • Memory improvement
  • Better digestion
  • Improved sleep

But Wait – There’s More Ways to Gain the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Come Halloween and Thanksgiving time, most people think of adding a good ‘ol can of pumpkin, combine it with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and make pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, cheesecake, pie and more.

What you can do instead (paleo style!) is use pumpkin seed protein powder to make nutritious and low carb breads, desserts and of course shakes. It mixes well and most people like the taste. It contains 9.5 grams of protein per serving, and you can check out the amino acid profile on the label online.

Perfect Foods Bars – Are They Paleo?

Perfect Foods BarI heard some friends talking about Perfect Food Bars recently because they said their kids really liked them, so of course, I thought I’d check them out. At first glance, the ingredient list doesn’t look paleo. However, there were a lot of things I noticed about these bars, so I figured I’d let you know what I thought.

By the way, if you like fruit-and-nut type snacks, trail mix bars or appreciate superfood ingredients, I think you’ll dig these. Also, if you’re trying to get your kids to eat whole food healthy snacks, try these. They are voted #1 Best Tasting Whole Food Bar, although I haven’t found out by whom.

Stuff You Might Like…?

First of all, they have a lot of health benefits, especially for people with certain food sensitivities:

  • All Natural Ingredients (about 80% organic)
  • Gluten Free
  • GMO Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Soy

Second, they have more protein than many other paleo bars. Therefore, if you are looking for a high-protein after-workout snack, this one may be worth checking out. Besides being good post workout, high-protein snacks are also more satiating.

Spinach in a green bowlThird, if you read the ingredient label carefully, you’ll notice halfway down that there are organic “whole food powders” added to boost the nutrition content (Bonus!!). There are organic ingredients like papaya, tomato, alfalfa, kelp, carrot, spinach, dulse and more…

No wonder each bar contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin E (45%), Magnesium (28%) and Copper (22%). By the way, I took these numbers off the Almond Butter flavor package and each flavor will vary. I’ve got all flavors listed below.

Fourth, the Perfect Foods Bar is substantial. It is approximately 300 calories per bar, with a good amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates. For some people, this could work as a mini meal replacement if they are traveling or away from home.

No matter what type of snack you use them for, they are a bargain as far as price, ringing in at only about $2.50 per bar. Not too bad for an organic, gluten-free mini-meal snack.

What You May Not Like About the Perfect Foods Bars…

First, yes these bars are packed with protein, but part of it is from organic rice protein. Although not really unhealthy (in my book), most experts don’t consider rice paleo, probably more so when it’s processed even more into a protein powder.

Second, dairy. It’s in there. In the form of nonfat milk powder. However, if you are paleo but don’t want to give up your cheese or whey protein shakes, this ingredient may not bother you. And it also may not bother you once you know that you get a healthy dose of calcium from each bar.

So, here is a list of the Perfect Foods Energy Bars:

Paleo Jerky Trail Mix?

OstrichNow you don’t have to decide. Get a bunch of great snacks mixed all into one! And get them pre-packaged into travel-ready packages that you can easily take with you without having to cook, prep or refrigerate.

Ostrim Paleo Trail Mix are great for hikes, camping trips, long road trips, mid afternoon snacks, healthy treats for kids and more.

Ostrim is known for making tasty ostrich & beef (or turkey or elk) jerky sticks, and now they have expanded to offer more than just jerky sticks.

The Macronutrient Run Down:

This is a 10-pack of trail mix snack packs that each contain 2 160-calorie servings. It has a good combination of protein (8 grams), fats (10 grams) and natural carbs (14 grams, 8 from sugar) to keep you full and satisfied. They even contain a kick of spices to make these snack packs even better.

Ingredients in Jerky Trail Mix:

Beef jerky (beef, ostrich, cranberries, sea salt, turbinado sugar, spices, natural flavors, garlic powder, vegetable juice powder (celery powder, sea salt)), almonds, cashews, blueberry juice infused with cranberries (cranberries, sugar, grape juice concentrate, blueberry juice concentrate, sunflower oil).

What About the Sugar?

These bars contain sugar and a couple of concentrated juice sweeteners listed under the ingredients. However, the amount of sugar per serving is minimal. At this amount, I consider it a good sweet tooth fix (if you want one). Plus, it can prevent snackers from eating other detrimental unhealthy snacks…

What I Like:

I also like the fact that these snack packs have bite-sized pieces of jerky. This can give people their beef jerky fix without having to buy the more expensive bags of dried meat. If you want an easy-to-eat snack that is not a bar, you may like this. You can get your crunch, your chew, your sweet, salty and spicy all in one.

What I Don’t Like:

These are more expensive that other paleo bars. You are paying about $4.30 per snack. Yes, each package has 2 servings, but I can easily eat one, especially if I am out hiking. I am guessing that the beef jerky has a lot to do with the price. Natural dried meats are not cheap, even if you make them yourself. Therefore, I don’t think this product is overpriced, I just wish is were cheaper. =)