Pumpkin Seeds or Pepitas are a Nutritional Powerhouse!
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas (pepita de calabaza means little seed of pumpkin), are a natural source of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. They are not only nutritious, but also tasty, having a sweet and chewy texture. Pumpkin seeds can be boiled, baked or eaten raw. They are low-calorie, high-nutritive snacks and can help improve various physical conditions including prostate and bladder problems, as well as depression.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. The nutritive value of pumpkin seeds includes vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, phosphorus, fat, carbohydrates and protein. For minerals, they include magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium and copper.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Database. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, EFA, omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as a source of the mineral zinc, and the World Health Organization recommends their consumption as a good way of obtaining this nutrient. If you want to maximize the amount of zinc that you will be getting from your pumpkin seeds, we recommend that you consider purchasing them in unshelled form. Although recent studies have shown there to be little zinc in the shell itself (the shell is also called the seed coat or husk), there is a very thin layer directly beneath the shell called the endosperm envelope, and it is often pressed up very tightly against the shell. Zinc is especially concentrated in this endosperm envelope. Because it can be tricky to separate the endosperm envelope from the shell, eating the entire pumpkin seed—shell and all—will ensure that all of the zinc-containing portions of the seed will be consumed. Whole roasted, unshelled pumpkin seeds contain about 10 milligrams of zinc per 3.5 ounces, and shelled roasted pumpkin seeds (which are often referred to pumpkin seed kernels) contain about 7-8 milligrams. So even though the difference is not huge, and even though the seed kernels remain a good source of zinc, you'll be able to increase your zinc intake if you consume the unshelled version.