Can’t you just feel it? Fall is definitely here. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and everything now comes in a pumpkin spice flavor or scent. Did you know pumpkins are not only delicious but hold one of the oldest treatments for parasites inside of them? Let’s talk kitchen medicine and pumpkin seeds!
Pumpkin seeds have been used as a natural parasite treatment for thousands of years in ancient China. Studies done in 2012 and 2016 have shown that pumpkin seeds can increase the rate of parasite removal. It’s believed that the amino acid cucurbitacin in the pumpkin seeds effectively paralyze the parasites, making them lose their grip on the body. It is also theorized that the natural fat in pumpkin seeds is toxic to parasite eggs. Parasites require sugar and carbohydrates in its host’s diet for colonization and growth, making Halloween an opportune time for them to flourish! So, while millions of pumpkins are sacrificed every October for Halloween décor, let’s put the seeds inside to good use!
Aside from their anti-parasitic benefits, pumpkin seeds pack a powerful punch while being rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium! Pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis without side effects, possibly due to the high antioxidant content in this study. Antioxidants reduce free radicals which, in turn, helps protect against many diseases. In the US, around 50% of the population is magnesium deficient and pumpkin seeds are magnesium rich.
One of my favorite fall treats is salted dark chocolate coated pumpkin seeds. Talk about a delicious antioxidant rich treat! Take raw pumpkin seeds and bake them on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Take them out hot and put them over some dark chocolate in a bowl. Mix until chocolate is melted and the pumpkin seeds are nicely coated. Put them back on parchment paper and top with pink Himalayan salt. Let cool and enjoy!