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Why are pumpkin seeds sometimes referred to as one of nature's superfoods?

Pumpkin seeds, like the majority of nuts and seeds, are exceptionally good for you. They are nature's own little multi-supplement containing a wide variety of nutrients.

Pumpkins and their seeds are used in cultures throughout the world from India and China to Mexico and the United States. Native American Indians are believed to have used the seeds extensively for their nutritional and medicinal properties.

Pumpkin seeds are full of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium; arguably the four most important minerals our bodies need. Iron is essential for the generation of new blood cells, zinc is needed for the formation of protein, calcium is vital for strong bones, and magnesium is used in nerve and muscle function.

Just a small portion of pumpkin seeds can provide between 25 to 50% of your recommended daily intake of each of these vital elements. Few foods are such good sources of so many nutrients.

However pumpkin seeds don't stop there - the tasty little superstars are also a terrific source of protein and the essential fatty acid omega-3. You will also obtain a good portion of copper from just a small portion of seeds.

In terms of health, pumpkin seeds have been shown to benefit a wide range of conditions and illnesses from high cholesterol to prostate disease. Recent studies have also shown the seeds to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in arthritis patients.

A handful of pumpkin seeds a day can really make a difference to your entire body, both inside and out. The word superfood is banded about a little too much these days, but the humble little pumpkin seed really is one of nature's magical morsels.

Top tip - although pumpkin seeds can be stored an airtight container in the refrigerator for several months, they begin to those their flavour after just six weeks.

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