Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are flat, greenish seeds surrounded by a white shell. The seed and the shell are both edible. They’re sold as roasted snacks, or you can toast your own. Pepitas are also used in Mexican cooking. Pumpkin seeds are good for you because they contain fats, natural plant compounds, fiber and nutrients that are healthy for your heart and may reduce inflammation.
Vitamins and Minerals
Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting, and B-complex vitamins, which help you get energy from the foods you eat. Pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals, including zinc and magnesium. You need zinc for a healthy immune system and for wound healing. Pregnant women need zinc for the baby to develop normally. Magnesium helps keep your bones strong and is needed for normal muscle and nervous system function. Pumpkin seeds are also high in iron and potassium. Your red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen, and potassium helps keep your body fluids in balance.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seeds contain natural plant compounds called sterols and phytoestrogens, which are similar to human hormones. Oil from pumpkin seeds has concentrated amounts of sterols and phytoestrogens that might help to increase your HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is the good type of cholesterol, and having higher levels of HDL is good for your heart and blood vessels.
Protein and Fiber
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fiber. Your body needs protein to build and repair muscles and organs, plus protein is necessary for your immune system. Fiber helps keep your digestive system working properly. Pumpkin seeds are also energy dense, which means they provide a lot of calories. One ounce of pumpkin seeds, which is about 1/4 cup, has 158 calories.