Why A Neuroscientist Loves Pumpkin Seeds For All-Day Energy

“My favorite seeds are pumpkin seeds because they’ve been found to increase dopamine availability in the brain,” Amen says, thanks to an amino acid called tyrosine. “If you have a lull in the afternoon, pumpkin seeds can help.” Not to mention, pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which plays an important role in blood sugar control; that “lull” Amen references is likely a blood sugar crash—so instead of reaching for coffee to temporarily fix the issue, experts recommend keeping your blood sugar levels balanced to avoid the dreaded dip midday.

Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber too, which only adds to their blood-sugar-balancing benefits (as fiber keeps you satiated for longer). Unfortunately, the stats show Americans are only eating about half of what’s recommended—that’s 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams for women. Luckily, just an ounce of pumpkin seeds will give you 20% of the recommended daily intake for fiber—however, the shell has more fiber than the seed alone, so consider that when you’re looking to consume pumpkin seeds for the fiber benefit. 

In addition to their blood-sugar-balancing benefits, pumpkin seeds are high in iron, with an ounce of seeds offering 11% of the recommended daily intake (not bad for a midday snack). Without enough iron, you may feel fatigued, dizzy, and exhausted (similar to the 3 p.m. slump), and considering our bodies don’t produce the essential mineral on their own, it’s pretty easy to face a gap. 

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