Featured Photo by Shaun Holloway
Pumpkin seeds are flat, dark green seeds that live inside the hollow cavity of pumpkins, a member of the gourd family. The seeds of the jack-o-lantern-type pumpkins are typically found encased in a pale yellow husk, but once cracked open, reveal the green seed inside. However, some varieties of pumpkins do not have this same husk around their seeds.
The phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds may help lower cholesterol. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a similar structure to cholesterol. When foods containing these phytosterols are added to the diet in sufficient amounts, they are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune system, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. As a matter of fact, the phytosterols found in seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame are so desirable that they are often extracted from the oils and added to “butter alternative” products that then tout the claim of being a food that lowers cholesterol.
Want to reduce arthritic inflammation? Snack on pumpkin seeds. The anti-inflammatory benefits of the addition of pumpkin seeds in the diets of animals has been compared to the non-steroidal drug indomethacin that is currently being used to treat patients with arthritis. The only difference is that pumpkin seeds don’t have the same negative side effect as indomethacin: damaged fats in the linings of the joints, which actually contributes to the progression of arthritis. Seems counter-productive for a drug that reduced arthritic inflammation, doesn’t it?
Pumpkin seeds are also a very good source of zinc, a mineral linked to healthy immune function. They are also considered a very good source of other minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and protein, all necessary minerals for a healthy diet.
Looking for some quick and easy ways to enjoy these wonder seeds? You can stick with fall tradition and roast them with some sea salt and pepper. Remove the seeds from the pulp and lay them on a paper towel or paper bag to dry overnight.
Place them on a cookie sheet and lightly season them, then roast at a low temperature (160°-170°F) for about 10-15 minutes. Roasting at a low temp for a short period of time will help preserve the healthy oils.
Since pumpkin seeds are readily available year-round in grocery and health food stores, you can grab a bag and sprinkle them on whatever you like, including salads and cereal. Add them to hearty oatmeal cookie or granola recipes, or incorporate them into your next batch of homemade veggie burgers and enjoy!
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that I might not achieve everything that I want in life, and that’s ok. I do the best that I can to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself, but some things may just be out of my control. All I can do is my best, and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve become pretty accepting of a lot of things in my old age (haha), so it’s hard to say what I’m still working on accepting.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my sense of self. Not many people can say they are 100% comfortable with themselves, or that they truly know who they are. I know who I am at this moment, but I also recognize that my sense of self is always evolving, and I just kind of go with the flow and try to be my true self as often as possible.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
At the moment, I’m most proud of completing my 200-hour yoga teacher training and becoming an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor. I’m also extremely proud of myself for making a career move that was a bit risky. I left my job in advertising to go work for the local county library system, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was intimidating to leave the comfort of a job I had for 9 years, but the difference in my quality of life…it’s immeasurable.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
I might be the most forgetful person you’ve ever met. I know this about myself, and I also know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, because my mom is the most forgetful person I know (next to myself). I chalk it up to genes, but really there are things I can do to improve my memory, I just get too lazy to put the effort in.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my sense of gratitude. I wasn’t always a grateful person, but certain life experiences will really put things into perspective for you. Not a day goes by that I don’t count my blessings and realize that all I have in life is enough for me to feel fulfilled. After all, it’s not a happy person who is thankful, but rather a thankful person that is happy.