Just in time for pumpkin everything season… Good news about America’s favorite fall gourd: Their seeds make a deliciously nutritious snack with tons of health benefits for women. Among these are soothing menopause symptoms, getting better sleep, and protecting your muscles.
Just like sunflower seeds, you’ll find numerous varieties of pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) at the grocery store. While there are a few choices to pick from, your best bet is to buy a variety like Food to Live Organic Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds (Buy at Walmart, $8.49) because they’re raw and unsalted. This allows you to get the greatest benefit from the seeds in their purest form. You can eat a handful of them on their own or add them to yogurt for a savory crunch. We’re also a fan of making a nutrient-rich snack mix with sesame, flax, and sunflower seeds.
Whichever way you go, a one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds provides 42 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. The mineral is essential for maintaining good bone and muscle health, which become even more important as we age because it helps us avoid fractures. Pumpkin seeds are also packed with seven grams of protein — another vital contributor to staying strong as you age — per ounce.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, eating pumpkin seeds before bed may do the trick. According to the Sleep Association, pumpkin seeds’ soporific effect is due to their high levels of magnesium and tryptophan, both which boost serotonin levels to relax your body. Dr. Oz suggests mixing one cup of seeds or 1/2 cup of pumpkin seed powder with a cup of applesauce for a delicious late night snack that ensures an uninterrupted night of rest.
You could also try pumpkin seed oil, which has been shown to help nix menopause symptoms. A study published in Climacteric found that women who added two grams of pumpkin seed oil to their daily diet experienced less joint pain and fewer hot flashes and headaches after 12 weeks.
Researchers claimed that the compounds in pumpkin seeds known as phytoestrogens were able to provide this relief and lower blood pressure levels. You can buy pumpkin seed oil from the store or online (Buy at Walmart, $13.09).
No matter how you add more pumpkin seeds to your life, you’ll be sure to get a ton of fantastic health benefits.
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.