Between their cultural positions as Jack O’ Lanterns and “objects people desire to smash,” pumpkins are oft overlooked as a completely legit Paleo food. While the entire pumpkin is beyond the scope of this article, we can zoom in on where it all starts: the pumpkin seed. Pumpkin seeds (or pepita in Spanish) are rich in micronutrients, phytosterols, and other compounds that have made them the subject of dozens of scientific studies. Their potential health benefits are tremendous. The implications of their use, should all the hype be true, would mean the reduction in symptoms and suffering for people with a wide variety of ailments.
Extract from the pumpkin seed has shown (in both rats and in humans) to increase the amount of control aging populations have over their urgent need to pee. The underlying cause of this inconvenience is thought to be decreasing testosterone counts, which in turn weakens the body’s “hold it in” systems. The water-soluble extract from pumpkin seeds has been shown several times to be somewhat anabolic, and in turn, to restore bladder control to those who need it.
Pumpkin seeds to the rescue again, this time with an equally inconvenient and somewhat similar issue. Studies have suggested that the amino acids and phytosterols in pumpkin seeds contribute to an alleviation in the common symptoms associated with the dreaded enlarged prostate.
The scientists got tricky with this one. They studied the effects of tryptophan combinedwith a high-glycemic carbohydrate on clinical anxiety. And the effects were good. Tryptophan helps the brain make serotonin, and serotonin helps you calm the hell down.
Another anti-aging point for the pumpkin seed. The oil has been shown to keep your arteries from turning to stone as quickly in an Egyptian study.
Getting adequate zinc (among other micronutrients like Vitamin D and Calcium) is recommended if one of your goals as you grow older is to avoid snapping in half. Pumpkin seeds have a crap-ton of zinc; just one ounce gets you 19% of your RDA(cashews are also good sources, but pale in comparison to the mighty pumpkin seed).
There seems to be a theme here: if you want to experience less of the bad parts about aging and happen to need a delicious snack, reach for some pumpkin seeds. The oil was shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis in rats, who now probably tremble when they catch wind of a new pumpkin seed study.
One of the best parts about Paleo foods is that you start seeing things a lot of people throw out as a totally awesome food source. I recommend roasting your pumpkin seeds into salty salad toppings, or keeping them raw and using them as slingshot ammo to shoot rats. But that’s just me. What’s your favorite use of pumpkin seeds? Are you still going to throw them out with the rest of Jack O. Lantern’s brains? I’d like to know your thoughts, post 'em up please!