Sometimes a nutritional bonus can come in a very small package, as is the case with pumpkin seeds. An excellent source of plant protein they’re also treasure houses of zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium.

These little roasted seeds are not only a delicious snack, they’re also great for your health in the following ways:

  1. Boosting immunity. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants and zinc – a mineral which is vital in fighting off infections. Not only that, it’s a great anti-ageing aid. A cupful of pumpkin seeds a day contains the recommended amount of zinc you need.

2. Promoting cardiovascular health. Magnesium is important for maintaining physiological functions in your body, including contraction and relaxation of blood vessels and pumping of the heart. Since pumpkin seeds are rich in this mineral it’s a smart idea to include them in your diet.

3. Promoting good sleep. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted by your body to serotonin and then to melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone’. If you suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, try eating some pumpkin seeds before going to bed; it will help you get a restful slumber.

4. Maintaining muscular health. Pumpkin seeds are rich in potassium which plays a key role in maintaining muscular form and strength, regulating body fluids and stabilizing blood pressure. Potassium also reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.

5. Safeguarding prostate health. Pumpkin seed extracts are often used in herbal medicine to treat prostate-related problems. The high zinc content in these seeds makes them a great food for men’s health, especially in prevention of enlarged prostate.