Why pumpkin seeds are great for menopause

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Eileen Durward
Menopause Advisor
@EileenDurward
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09 April 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I am going to tell you why pumpkin seeds are great for the menopause.

How pumpkin seeds can help you during menopause

I love pumpkin seeds, and it's amazing to think that a little seed is such a big powerhouse of nutrition. And it's really a good idea to try and incorporate them into your diet as often as you can.

Why are they so good for you?  Well, one of the main reasons is that they are very high in zinc, and zinc, like magnesium, is a really important mineral for the menopause, and we need it for so many different things.

Why you need zinc during menopause

We need it to help our immune system stay healthy and strong, and this is very important, especially during the dark winter months when there's all those horrible infections flying about.  

We need it for our skin, to keep our skin healthy, and to stop us from ending up with skin conditions such as eczema, and psoriasis, or acne, or rashes. We need it for our bones, and it helps in conjunction with calcium and magnesium to help to keep our bones nice, and strong, and sturdy, as we age.  

We need it for our hair and our nails, and I know how many of you out there are really struggling with your hair and your nails, and how important it is for our own self-esteem to have nice-looking nails and lovely strong shiny hair. We need zinc for our sex hormones, and here we are in the menopause, when our production of sex hormones is going down, and we need more and more in order to try and stay stable, so zinc is a really important one for this particular situation.  

It's needed to help keep our blood sugar stable, and this is one of the really main and annoying symptoms in the menopause. Our blood sugars can go up and down like a yo-yo and that can contribute to sugar cravings, and to overeating, and also eating a lot of the wrong foods at this time.  

We need zinc to help to support our nervous system, and especially for those of you who've been watching for a while, you'll know just how even the slightest hormonal changes can really stress our nervous system. We also need zinc for our libido, and our brain function, and these are two things that can get really affected in the menopause.  

So as you can see, this little seed can give us zinc which will help with so many menopause symptoms.

Other benefits for pumpkin seeds

The other benefits of pumpkin seeds, they're high in protein. They provide you with omega-7, and omega-7 is an oil that helps to prevent dryness of the skin. It helps to prevent vaginal dryness and to help to prevent dry eyes, and dry mouth, too.  

We also have magnesium in pumpkin seeds and iron, so these are going to give us lovely little top-ups of these minerals as well.

How much pumpkin sees should I eat per day?

Now, how much pumpkin seeds do you need? Well to be honest, just a generous sized palm-filled amount of the seeds is going to give you about 17% of your daily required needs for zinc, so that's quite a high amount for just a small portion of this particular food.  

How to eat more pumpkin seeds

How do you eat them? Well, you can just chew them as they are. You can grind them up, this is one of the ways I like, when I grind them up, mix them maybe with some ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. You can sprinkle those on your breakfast cereal, in your yoghurt. You can sprinkle them on food. You can even put them on salads as well.

The other thing you can do, and this is another favorite of mine, is that you can mix the pumpkin seeds with some soy sauce, a little bit of salt, and you can roast them in a cool of maybe for half an hour or so.  

This makes them really nice, and crunchy, and tasty, and if you feel like a little savoury snack, they're absolutely ideal. Put them once they're cool, put them in an airtight container. Put them in the fridge and they'll keep for a few days, if you can manage to keep them for that length of time.

How you can lose zinc during menopause

Now, the one really important thing here is our need for zinc goes up in the menopause, but we can also lose a lot of zinc.  

And one of the ways in which we can lose zinc is through sweating, so if you are getting a lot of hot flushes and night sweats, you may be losing quite a lot of zinc that way. You can also lose zinc through drinking too much coffee. You can lose it through smoking, drinking alcohol, and if you're doing too much exercise, and stress.  

And this is the interesting thing here. We lose zinc through stress, and we need plenty of zinc to support our nervous system, so this is another good reason why we really need to keep our zinc levels up.

Other foods high in zinc

If you're not too keen on pumpkin seeds, what other foods are high in zinc?  

You can look at things like oysters if you're into seafood, beef, other nuts and seeds, mushrooms, dark chocolate but in moderation, and spinach, and also beans, and pulses are high in zinc. So you could have a nice varied diet with loads of lovely zinc-rich foods to help you through the menopause.  

So I hope this has been of help and of interest to you. If any of you have any other recipes, or great ideas on how to eat pumpkin seeds, then do let us know. And I'll see you next week, on another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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