Get started with your free eBook.

Discover the top 14 things you’re doing that are damaging your bones.

5 Bone-Healthy Nutrients In This One Delicious Seed

pumpkin-seeds

Pumpkin seeds bring back vivid childhood memories for me. Picture this: a small patio, my two younger brothers, and lots of pumpkin seeds.

The competition would heat up as they’d see who could spit the pumpkin seed shells the farthest. My friends and I would cheer on from the second floor balcony when taking a break from our more “civilized” activities.

During those carefree childhood days, little did we know (nor would we have cared) that this entertaining treat contained so many important nutrients.

As adults, we can appreciate that just a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup) provide over 50 percent of your daily requirement for manganese and almost 50 percent of your magnesium requirement. If you have the Save Our Bones Program, you know that both of these are important Foundation Supplements and essential for bone health.

What Magnesium Does for Your Bones

Around 65 percent of the magnesium found in the body is deposited in the bones. Magnesium acts synergistically with calcium, but it is too often ignored. Unfortunately, modern diets lack the proper amounts, and while healthcare practitioners typically focus on the importance of calcium for bone health, they rarely recommend magnesium. A recent USDA survey revealed that close to 50 percent of women get less than 70 percent of the RDA for magnesium.

One important aspect of magnesium as it relates to bone health is that it plays a role in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for the digestion and proper absorption of nutrients. If foods are not well digested, toxic acidic food residue accumulates in the body. And last but not least, magnesium regulates the parathyroid gland, which is the primary organ that controls bone mineralization.

Manganese, an Essential Trace Mineral

Manganese is necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone, and is involved in protein synthesis and fatty acid metabolism. It also plays a central role in blood clotting. Like zinc and copper, it is an important activator and part of many enzyme systems, including the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase. Additionally, manganese plays a significant role in the formation of thyroxine, the main hormone of the thyroid gland.

The Nutrient Feast Continues

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of several other Foundation Supplements:

Copper

Copper is instrumental in the developing and maintenance of blood vessels, skin, bone, and joints.

Zinc

Zinc regulates bone turnover and is necessary for the proper functioning of bone alkaline phosphatase (isoenzyme ALP-2), an enzyme involved in bone mineralization.

Vitamin K

I cover Vitamin K in detail in the blog post, “Vitamin K: Your Osteoporosis Knight in Shining Armor”.

So Munch Away

Now that you know how good pumpkin seeds – also known as pepitas – are for your bone health, the kid in you can continue to enjoy this yummy snack. Read on to expand your pumpkin seed repertoire.

Roasting Your Own Pumpkin Seeds

Sure, you can buy roasted pumpkin seeds in packages, but roasting your own is healthier… and much more fun! Next time you carve your Halloween pumpkin masterpiece, don’t throw away those seeds. Instead, follow these super-easy instructions and enjoy!

  • Wipe the seeds off with a paper towel or rinse them in cold water to get rid of any pulp that’s still sticking to them.
  • Spread the seeds on a paper bag and dry them overnight.
  • Transfer the seeds to a lightly oiled cookie sheet, spreading them out in a single layer.
  • Roast the seeds for about 15-20 minutes at 160-170 degrees. The short roasting time and low temperature help retain the nutrients and preserve the healthy oils that pumpkin seeds contain.
  • After the seeds cool, store them in an airtight container (if there are any left!).

Whether you purchase prepared pumpkin seeds or roast your own, they should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eaten within a couple of months.

Ideas for Using Pumpkin Seeds

Of course, pumpkin seeds are great on their own as a tasty and filling snack. But here are a few more ways you can add these bone health gems to your diet:
Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds on your salads or sautéed vegetables.

Toss…

…a handful of chopped seeds into your hot cereal.

Add…

…whole or chopped seeds to grain dishes.

Bake…

… pumpkin seeds into cookies and other baked goods, for an interesting taste twist and nutrition boost.

Sprinkle…

…your favorite salad dressing recipe or marinade with ground pumpkin seeds.

Just Part of a Bone Healthy Diet

As yummy and nutritious as pumpkin seeds are, they’re not the entire answer to the bone health puzzle. No single food or supplement is. Enjoy them and reap their benefits, and remember that they’re just one of many bone-healthy Foundation Foods. For the full list of Foundation Foods try the Save Our Bones Program if you haven’t already.

Print Friendly and PDF

The Top 14 Things You’re Doing That Are Damaging Your Bones... And More!

Enter your name and email below to get...

  • Stop The Bone Thieves! report
  • Email course on how to prevent and reverse bone loss
  • Free vital osteoporosis news and updates.

50 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. esteri October 28, 2012, 7:40 am

    Do the seeds need to be roasted? Also wondering what the difference is between seeds I see when I scoop them out of a pumpkin that are white and the green one I buy in the store?

  2. Linda November 21, 2011, 7:32 pm

    I am so glad I read this blog just surfing through other blogs. I bought some pumpkin seeds and I could NOT get the shell off of 90% of them. I gave them to my hubby to feed to the squirrels he loves to watch. When I go to the store I always looked for shelled pumpkin seeds. Little did I know that the pepitas I always passed up were shelled pumpkin seeds. I will be sure to buy them next shopping trip.

  3. eL November 1, 2011, 6:32 am

    VIVIAN, IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN ALLOW US TO PRINT YOUR ARICLES WITHOUT ALL THE EXTRANEOUS MATERIAL ON THE PAGE? I CAN’T AFFORD TO WASTE INK AND I WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THIS INFORMATION HANDY (LIKE ON MY FRIDGE).

  4. Frank April 11, 2011, 8:49 am

    Is it safe to eat strawberries from China?

  5. JoAnn Reed March 17, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Vivian,
    I have recently read about the many nutritional benefits of Chia seeds. According to what I have read, they are an excellent source of calcium and omega 3′s. What is your take on this?

  6. Purnima patel March 14, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Hi Vivian I am replying to you first time I have been receiving your emails thru V asu and I enjoy all them very much Excellent information!!

  7. vivian March 10, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I have started taking “Vitamin Code GROW BONE CHALLENGE ” by Garden of Life and have felt stronger and have much healthier nails.The box is $45 at Whole Foods .If you use for 6 consecutive months and your bone density does not improves they will refund you !I have tried Many things and this seams to be doing well!

  8. Nu Ly March 10, 2011, 2:40 am

    I enjoy to read your e-mail. I eat pumpkin seeds 4-5 days in one week, and from 40-50 seeds each time. Thank you.

  9. Frances Foster March 9, 2011, 10:32 pm

    For those who desire a little salt on their pumpkin seeds, a good way to do it without added oils is to put 2 Tbs. salt in 1 cup water (1:8) and dissolve. Put your pepitas in a bowl and pour the salt water over them, and pour it off again into a jar. Keep the jar of salt water in the frig to use on other nuts you would like to toast. Toast at 200 degrees for 1/2 to 1 hour, or until dried out/crispy. Other nuts such as almonds will take a longer time in the oven. You can do the same with fresh seeds out of the pumpkin by dipping the seeds in the salt water and pouring it off again, then toasting in the oven. (longer, because there is more substance) They’re delicious even with the shell still on – crunchy!

  10. Allan March 9, 2011, 11:17 am

    I love receiving your emails, here in the UK. I feel part of a larger, friendly group, doing things the natural way. I find your emails so encouraging and helpful.

    Thank you

    Allan

  11. mry hoffpauir March 9, 2011, 9:33 am

    I have read that roasting (or heating) pumpkin seeds kills any nutient in them SO I am confused with the contradictory messages. Thoughts please. mary

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 9, 2011, 12:50 pm

      Please see my reply to Paula.

  12. Ann Burns March 8, 2011, 6:15 pm

    I only eat raw pumpkin seeds, and I never refrigerate them.

  13. Nicole March 8, 2011, 6:05 pm

    Hi Vivian – A while back you told us all about the benefits of honey. In stores I found at least half a dozen kinds and had no clue on which one to buy. Can you please enlighten us. Again, thank you for all you do for us.
    Nicole

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 8, 2011, 9:43 pm

      Hi Nicole,

      If you can find organic honey that’s as close as possible to its natural state, that would be great, but all honey is alkalizing and just fine. :)

  14. Shirley Marks March 8, 2011, 1:38 pm

    seeds are great, I eat them alone or with yoghurt

  15. Erlinda Siaton March 8, 2011, 9:04 am

    Thank you very much Vivian for the information regarding pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin seeds on my salad. Thank you very much for the save our bones book. I don’t take any drugs except
    organic supplements and thanks God I am doing well.

  16. Sherry March 8, 2011, 7:28 am

    Are you implying the pumpkin seeds in the bins, not packaged, should be avoided because they are stale? (bulk is less expensive and more available where I live). When roasting seeds from pumpkins and squash, do you eat shell and all of the seed? No need to separate? Thank you for all your wonderful advice!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 8, 2011, 10:31 pm

      Hi Sherry,

      If you buy pumpkin seeds from bulk bins, make sure the bins are covered. And try to buy them from a store that has high volume, so the seeds aren’t sitting for too long. Due to the high oil content of pumpkin seeds, a “sniff test” should tell you if the seeds are outdated or rancid. And most people discard the shells, but they can be eaten if you chose.

  17. Kelsey Fickling March 8, 2011, 2:06 am

    Hello Vivian, As you will know Australia has had the most outrageous weather – and we are still having huge downpours of rain – and another cyclone is presenting itself just off our coastline (probably the 6th this year)I had to go to Charters Towers (80klms west) when “Yasi” (the biggest cyclone in our history)came accross our coast – it was as wide as the length of the Queensland coast!!!!! it caused massive destruction north of Townsvile – we suffered a lot of damage too – very old trees uprooted everywhere – further north where the worst of it hit- houses and boats were just destroyed. Because I was away for about 1 week and then my power was off for another week – then my refrigerator stopped working and after 1 month it was replaced. I was eating at friends and relatives – the change of diet was not good for me – I felt in a weakened state and caught a miserable cold – just recovering and beginning to feel good again. My husband used to eat pumpkin seeds to look after “his prostate”. He told me someone had told him about them. I’ll be adding them to my nibble list. Thanks again Vivian – Many Blessings, Kelsey Fickling, Australia.

  18. Merilyn Inman March 8, 2011, 1:40 am

    Thanks Vivian – excellent information.
    I love receiving your emails and the tit bits of info which is so helpful.
    You are such a gift to us.
    Merilyn

  19. Merle Rossow March 7, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Thank you for such informative information

  20. Lillian March 7, 2011, 8:00 pm

    I’ve just joined the Program and excited about improving my bone density.

  21. Sylvia Black March 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Vivien

    Please can you tell me if the seeds from marrows are equally good? In the UK marrows are probably used more than pumpkins, although we do have pumpkins at halloween time.

    Thank you

    Sylvia

    • Lammes October 7, 2012, 2:01 am

      I love pumpkin! Thanks for the rceipes. I’ve been making pumpkin pie oatmeal lately. I froze some pumpkin puree in an ice cube tray. For every serving of oatmeal I add one pumpkin cube and then some cinnamon and nutmeg. :)Erica’s latest blog post:

  22. Debbie Moore March 7, 2011, 5:13 pm

    I love pumpkin seeds & often use them as a snack. Plus I use them in a slice I make called “birdseed slice”. It is so easy: 4 cups of mixed seeds & dried fruit ( try 1 cup pumpkin seeds, half cup sesame seeds, half cup chopped almonds, 1 cup raisins & 1 cup of chopped dates/figs/sultanas or any other mix you choose.Stir in 2 tablespoons flour,& then 3 eggs. Press into paper lined pan & bake approx 30 mins till brown, moderate oven. Cut into snack sized bites.

    • Kelsey Fickling March 8, 2011, 2:13 am

      Thanks for your “Birdseed Slice” receipe Debbie. Blessings, Kelsey Fickling, Australia.

  23. LESLIE March 7, 2011, 4:58 pm

    Hi! Vivian,

    I Never Knew That So Many Nutrients Were Packed Into One Pumpkin Seed! I’ll Have To Start Eating More Of Them. I Love The Pumpkin Fruit! Thank You VERY MUCH For Sharing This Information With Us!

    LOVE, Ms. L.

  24. natty March 7, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Its good to know that oil in pumpkin seeds helps in the increase of bone density..Thanks for the info.

  25. Don March 7, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Thanks, Vivian, for your continued information. Having been diagnosed with Osteoporosis last month, I’m declining Reclast, which my doctor wants me to take. I’ve instead recently joined your “Save Our Bones Program”. I’m looking forward to reduced “T” scores next year.

  26. Maria March 7, 2011, 2:57 pm

    I would like to receive your newsletter or ongoing conversations. Thank you very much.

  27. Lily March 7, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I really liked this article about pumpkins seeds! Question: what’s the best type of oil to use when roasting pumpkin seeds?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 8:53 pm

      Hi Lily,

      Since you’re roasting the seed at such a low temperature, olive oil would be great (and you only need a little bit, just enough to lightly coat the baking sheet).

  28. paula March 7, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Help Vivian. I love tamari flavored almonds. Does the tamari roasting take away any of the almond value? I have been reading that nuts should be absolutely raw, and that roasting them is not beneficial? In actuality, I do not know what temperature they tamari roast them?
    Many thanks,
    Paula

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 9:00 pm

      Hi Paula,

      Roasting reduces the level of antioxidants and healthy oils slightly, but they’re still packed with nutrients. If tamari roasted is the way you enjoy these delicious treats, then go for it!

  29. ruth March 7, 2011, 1:28 pm

    where can i buy/purchase pumpkin seeds

    • Sue March 7, 2011, 5:53 pm

      They are sold in bins at Whole Foods or in packages at Trader Joe’s (pepitas) here in Northern Virginia.

  30. Allison March 7, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Cannnot eat enough of them….I just love pumpkin seeds, especially while watching my favorite soap on TV…Now, I
    will measure out a 1/4 cup. Thanks again for
    advising us of all your good work. It is well
    appreciated.

  31. Diane Martinson March 7, 2011, 11:13 am

    I buy pumpkin seeds already to eat but they aren’t refrigerated in the store, are they spoiled, would it do any good to refrigerate them after I buy them?

    Diane

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 9:03 pm

      Most packaged pumpkin seeds are vacuum-packed or in airtight packaging. As long as you refrigerate them once they’re opened, they should be fine.

  32. maria Fama March 7, 2011, 10:28 am

    I ground them and put a tsp in my yogurt, and with other seeds as well . I love it .
    Maria .

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 9:03 pm

      Sounds delicious! :)

  33. BRIGITTE DUNKER March 7, 2011, 9:22 am

    Vivien:

    Please change my email address to the following. I am having trouble with the tampabay roadrunner site.

    pjgassner@gmail.com

    Thanks…..Brigitte Dunker

  34. Jean March 7, 2011, 9:19 am

    We’ve usually roasted the pumpkin seeds as advised from our halloween pumpkins, but the hulls are really a pain, so it’s much easier to buy pepitas. Are squash seeds equally nutritious? As someone who likes to see nothing go to waste, I sometimes roast these too, but as they’re smaller, the hulls are even a bigger pain. Is there an easy way to get the meat out of the seeds? Or do you eat ‘em, hull and all?! Thanks again for the info – who knew!

  35. Jeanie March 7, 2011, 8:52 am

    Try stirring pumpkin seeds or a mixture of different seeds and a spoonful of honey into a plain yoghurt. Great as a quick breakfast or a dessert.

  36. mary t ball March 7, 2011, 8:26 am

    Well I never! I always wondered what to do with pumpkin seeds at Halloween, they just went on the compost heap. Didn’t think they could be put to any nutritional use at all.
    Even the birds weren’t interested.
    mary.

  37. Sue March 7, 2011, 8:16 am

    Vivian I find so much help for my osteoporosis in your posts for which I thank you very sincerely, however I do have a problem that I hope you can address, it is that as I take warfarin [coumedin]and Vitamin K is contraindicated with this drug what do you advise?

    Sue.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 8:32 pm

      Hi Sue,

      Please see my reply to Stanley. If Vitamin K is contraindicated for you, you must avoid it, but it is far from the entire answer to bone health. The Save Our Bones Program gives you many options.

    • Denise Victorine March 7, 2011, 11:42 am

      I enjoy eating several varieties of squash. Can the various seeds be roasted and eaten as well?

      Denise

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 7, 2011, 9:02 pm

        Yes, they sure can!

Join the Conversation. Leave a Comment.

The purpose of this comment section is to encourage you to interact with the rest of the Save Our Bones Community. Thank you so much for joining the conversation!

Want healthier bones? Subscribe for free.

Sign up to receive free vital osteoporosis updates you won’t find anywhere else - New drug reviews, alerts, recalls, the latest natural osteoporosis treatment news, and much more.