Pumpkin seeds offer numerous health benefits for your kids. These health benefits can range from improved brain development, helps in getting sound sleep, improved liver health, possesses antimicrobial properties, improved urodynamics and supply of essential vitamins and minerals.
The fruit of pumpkin or squash offers numerous health benefits for infants and kids that we have already discussed in our previous articles. In continuation with those articles, we want extend it further by explaining the health benefits of pumpkin seeds for kids.
Most of us know pumpkin as the fruit used for decorating Jack’O Lantern for Halloween, but other than just being a decorative fruit or vegetable, pumpkin offers numerous health benefits to your kids. The origin of pumpkin is thought to be the American continents, but today they are spread all over the world and are very popular in several countries. The United States is the largest producer of pumpkins followed by Canada, India, China and Mexico. Native Americans have long been using pumpkin seeds both for dietary and medicinal purposes. After the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century, pumpkin along with other fruits and vegetables, reached Europe and spread to other parts of the world from there.
Unlike the flesh of pumpkin or squash, the seeds though are highly beneficial, they are not recommended for infants. The reason is that there is a risk of choking with pumpkin seeds. But the risk of allergy for pumpkin seeds is less. But, if your kid has an allergy for seeds or nuts such as cashew, pistachio, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, etc, then perhaps you might have to rethink about giving pumpkin seeds. Consult your pediatrician before giving pumpkin seeds to your child.
Source: Fine Cooks.com
What is the best age for giving pumpkin seeds to my kid?
Pumpkin seeds can be given to your toddler who has teeth strong enough to chew regular solid food, which can usually be between 1 ½ years of age to 2 years of age. This is the age at which your baby has teeth strong enough to chew solid substances and more often the child is ready to eat adult meals, more or less.
If you are still worried whether or not your child can chew the seeds, then you could simply grind the seeds and give it kind of peanut butter consistency and start adding it to his or her diet. Of course, for this, you’ll need lot of the seeds and unlike peanuts, pumpkin seeds might not be available in large quantities. So, you could prepare it one cup at a time. As your child grows older, you could it make the butter crunchier.
An important thing to keep in mind is that when you start collecting these seeds from pumpkin fruit, make sure that before you serve the seeds to your child or if you’re trying to make a paste out of it, you need to remove the outer husk or layer that surrounds the seed. This, of course is a time consuming process, but considering the benefits your child can get, it is worth the effort.
Health benefits of pumpkin seeds for kids
Good for brain development: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are highly recommended for kids because of the brain development. Brain development in children is as essential as the development of the rest of the body.
Helps to get sound sleep: Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which helps in producing serotonin and this in turn gets converted into melatonin. And this is hormone helps in getting better sleep. If your child has sleeping issues, give him or her a handful of pumpkin seeds few hours before sleep. Your kid can have a good night’s sleep with this simple remedy.
Antimicrobial properties: Pumpkin seeds also possess antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds are effective in controlling bacteria such as S. aureus , Bacillus subtillus , E. coli and P. aerugenosa.
Improved urodynamics: Traditionally, pumpkin seeds have been used by native Americans for regulating passage of urine. Recent studies have confirmed this traditional usage. A study showed that pumpkin seed oil can reduce bladder pressure, increase bladder compliance and reduce urethral pressure.
Strengthens the liver: The unsaturated fats present in pumpkin seeds are not only good for brain development as well, but they are also good for strengthening the liver as well. One study has shown that a mixture of pumpkin and flax seeds reduced liver damage.
Supply of Antioxidants: Apart from these benefits, pumpkin seeds are also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are some of the unsung heroes of health and well-being. They help us from various kinds of damage to our cells and tissues.
Presence of zinc: Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc, a mineral which helps in boosting the brain function and improving the immune system.
Presence of magnesium: Apart from zinc, pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Magnesium supports numerous biological activities including boosting metabolism and food synthesis, bone formation, etc.
Rich in potassium: Pumpkin seeds are rich in potassium. Potassium basically acts as an electrolyte and it is less harmful than its cousin, sodium which is also an electrolyte. In most of our diets and also in our children’s diets, the presence of potassium is becoming very less and the presence of sodium is increasing rapidly.
Rich in phosphorus: Phosphorus is another mineral which is found in high amounts in pumpkin seeds. Phosphorus offers numerous benefits such as bone formation, helps in repairing cells, regularizes chemical reactions in the body and helps in optimum utilization of nutrients.
These are some of the benefits that pumpkin seeds can give to your kids.
Read the Health Benefits of Pumpkin in baby food
Nutrition in Pumpkin Seeds
According to The National Nutrient Database, the nutritional profile of Pumpkin Seeds include
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Protein||30.23 g||Carbohydrates||10.71 g|
|Fat||49.0 g||Dietary Fiber||6.0 g|
|Calories||559 kcal||Water||5.623 g|
|Calcium||46 mg||Copper||1.3 mg|
|Iron||8.82 mg||Magnesium||592 mg|
|Manganese||4.54 mg||Phosphorus||1233 mg|
|Potassium||809 mg||Sodium||7 mg|
|Zinc||7.81 mg||Niacin||4.98 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.143 mg||Choline||63 mg|
|Folate||58 mcg||Vitamin C||1.9 mg|
|Vitamin A||16 IU||Vitamin E||2.18 mg|
|Vitamin K||7.3 mcg||Thiamin||0.273 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.153 mg||Pantothenic Acid||0.75 mg|