You may already know that eating a handful of nuts a day can help you live longer, but did you know that regularly eating certain seeds can help make that long life more pleasurable? “Pumpkin seeds are one of top dietary sources of tryptophan, the basic ingredient the body needs to make serotonin and dopamine,” says Ramsey. “Those two chemicals are most important for mood, sharp thinking, and experiencing joy and pleasure.”
Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of manganese, zinc, vitamin E, antioxidants, and healthy fats. What sets these gourd seeds apart from other nutrient-dense foods is their accessibility, says Ramsey. You can find pumpkin seeds, a.k.a. pepitas, in almost every grocery store, and their flavor is mellow enough to play well with other foods. “They’re an inexpensive, simple way to add more minerals, monounsaturated fat, and filling fiber to your diet—eat them whenever you can,” says Dr. Ramsey, who suggests sprinkling raw pumpkin seeds by the quarter cup into smoothies, salads, and stews, or just eating them by the handful as a snack. Why raw? High heat can damage the phytonutrients and antioxidants, he warns. If you prefer roasted seeds, toast them yourself, so you can control the heat.
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