+ Well Nourished | Pumpkin Seeds Superfood

Pumpkin Seeds Superfood- (if you have fussy kids, read this)

The humble pumpkin seed also known as the pepita.  Where do I start?  This is one food you want to include in your diet.  If you are pregnant or have fussy kids, this little seed needs to shoot to the top of your shopping list.

Why are pumpkin seeds a superfood?

Protein, fats, and fibre
Pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of protein, plant based omega 3 essential fatty acids, and fibre.  All macronutrients are covered in this one little seed.  They are also a super concentrated form of vitamins and minerals, especially  magnesium and zinc.

Minerals for kids
Both magnesium and zinc are so important for growing children.  In my experience, these two minerals are very common deficiencies in fussy kids with poor diets and commonly create a number of disturbances including…

  • Poor immune responses (propensity to infection)
  • Poor growth and development
  • Poor appetite or an appetite only for simple carbohydrates, sweet and/or salty stuff (processed foods).  This is a particularly vicious circle as the deficiency drives cravings for the very foods which further deplete their mineral levels.  Correcting nutritional deficiency is critical for not only improving the health of a deficient child, but creating a real desire for nutrient dense foods.
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Mood and behavioural disorders
  • Skin conditions
  • Growing pains
  • Hormonal imbalance and acne at sexual maturity


Other benefits of pumpkin seeds…
Men… pumpkin seeds, due to their zinc levels are very protective to the prostate.  Research suggests that a combination of pumpkin seeds, its oil, and the herb Saw Palmetto is of great benefit in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

Women…During pregnancy, zinc, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the health of the mother and development of the baby.  Ensuring a mother’s zinc levels are adequate during pregnancy and at birth is so important.  According to author Francesca Naish, of the Jocelyn Centre for Natural Fertility management, adequate zinc levels is protective against the development of postnatal depression, helps repair connective tissue trauma, prevents cracking nipples and is important for breast milk production.  Babies born with adequate zinc levels are generally more contented and cry less.

There is also growing evidence for the use of pumpkin seeds for the management of the symptoms of menopause.

Both…Zinc is a critical nutrient for both male and female fertility.

Sleep and mood disturbance… Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin (feel good hormone) and then melatonin (sleep hormone).  Plus they are rich in magnesium and zinc which both play a role in sleep and mood.

Other …
Both zinc and magnesium are involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body.  Good energy levels depend upon adequate levels.  Pumpkin seeds are also antimicrobial .  There is much research to indicate benefits to the heart and liver too.

I really could go on and on, but I think you have the gist?  Pumpkin seeds are a very beneficial whole food, especially if you suspect zinc and or magnesium deficiency is at play!


How to include them in your diet…
The obvious way is to just eat them.  They can be eaten raw though to really make the most of these important nutrients you might like to consider soaking them.

Soaking pepitas (actually all nuts and seeds) in water with a little salt or whey  is important because they contain enzyme inhibitors.  Nature made them this way.  The enzymes and minerals needed for growth (into a plant) are unstable and therefore, bound in the seed until they are needed.  The time they are needed is at germination to enable them to grow into a new plant.  So when you soak a nut or seed, the water tells the seed it is time to soften up and get ready to grow, breaking down the enzyme inhibitors so the enzymes and minerals are now available for our use (poor little seed thought it was going to get to grow)!

You can also dehydrate or roast them at low temperatures – I think they taste better this way.  Here is a recipe using almonds for some tasty ways to flavour pumpkin seeds.  I love these as a snack, they are lunch box safe too.  I also often sprinkle them through a salad or the sweet ones over natural yogurt.

My kids actually dislike them raw, so I need to roast them.  I also grind them to add a zinc hit to my baking.  Here are some recipes where I’ve done this purposefully to increase the nutrient profile, specifically zinc and magnesium of the food…ensuring every mouthful counts.

Carrot Cake Slice

Nourishing Anzac

Cheese and Seed Cracker

No Bake Muesli Bar

I’d love to receive you comments or questions.  You can post one below, I read every one!


All of the content here at Well Nourished is FREE to assist you to be the healthiest you can be.  But you can help me to build a healthier world, please  Share this post with a friend Share this post with a friend.

You can also support my work by purchasing my ebook “Rise and Shine” – more details HERE or “The Well Nourished Lunchbox” – more details HERE.

Pumpkin seeds

  • Anouk

    My kids love them toasted can u soak nuts and seeds and then toast them ?

  • Absolutely Anouk, this is the most nourishing way to eat them. Just toast them slowly over a low heat for a longer time is best. G x

  • kate @ livinglovinglaughing

    hi Georgia, I am new to ‘activating’ nuts/seeds! how long do you recommend soaking the pepitas. and then how long do you roast for? (thanks!!!) 🙂

    • Soak for about 4 hours, this is the most important thing to do. Some people recommend overnight but I find they go slimy if you leave them too long. To truly activate them you’ll need to invest in a dehydrator. Otherwise roast at your ovens lowest temp for as long as it takes for them to dry out. Good luck, G x

Kind words…

“I downloaded your ebooks after hearing you speak at the Health and Wellness Summit in Melbourne. Love them, life changing… Don’t stop! Thank you for getting the whole food message out there, I certainly heard it.” Melanie

“I love your ebooks, I have all three of them now and they are now my only go to receipe books. They are simple, wholesome and taste great. THANK YOU!!! I have spent alot of money on courses about healthy eating and recipe books but your books have covered it all and my little man enjoys the snacks etc. Wish I would have found you earlier “. Brooke

“I just want to say a huge thank you for your amazing website and information. I’ve never liked cooking and never got excited by my ‘healthy’ cooking. My husband is even worse and if he could, he would just eat beacon and eggs every morning and steak every night. He hardly ate any veggies. Since I found your website I have gone through almost every recipe. My husband is loving every meal as well – even meat free Monday, and he’s taking left-overs to work for lunch (honestly, who thought that could be so hard?!)” Rose

“You have truly helped me and my family to lead a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been referring to your page every few days, very inspiring, so thank you!” Emily

“Thank you very much for your awesome website & facebook page posts, you have motivated & inspired me heaps!” Fiona

“Just discovered your site 3 weeks ago, its been a great help with kids lunches for back to school, thanks so much!” Ange

“What a fantastic blog filled with so many great recipes and information!” Carla

“I just wanted to let you know that you have absolutely inspired me to a better way of eating, I’ve been making my shopping lists based on recipes you’ve shared and am educating my kids with the reasons behind different foods and why they are good etc! This page has become my little bible hehe! Thank you so much for all the detail you give. It’s absolutely wonderful!” Sky

FREE Newsletter

Register to receive:

  • FREE Chocolate Ebook
  • Weekly whole food recipes
  • Practical health and nutrition tips
  • Subscribers only special offers

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required