The Magnesium-Rich Snack a Health Coach Swears by for Better Sleep and Digestion

Photo: Getty Images/The Picture Pantry
Pumpkin gets a lot of hype in the fall, then everyone forgets about those big orange squashes for the rest of the year. Well, everyone except for Brit Trainor, RD, a health coach at Parsley Health, who believes they're far more than just a decoration for your doorstep. Her pumpkin muffin recipe tastes just as good in October as it does in July.

Pumpkins are loaded with so many nutritional benefits that they should be enjoyed year-round—especially their seeds. First of all, they contain a high amount of fiber—around a half day's worth—which Trainor says helps keep you full for longer and helps moves things along in your gut, leading to better digestion. They're loaded with an important mineral that provides many body-boosting benefits, including better sleep.

"Pumpkin seeds are unusually high in magnesium, which is involved in many biochemical reactions in your body, including blood sugar control, heart rate regulation, muscle movements, protein formation, and energy creation," says Trainor. "Magnesium also plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep via helping to maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter responsible for promoting sleep. Unfortunately, studies suggest that too many people get less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium in their diet, thus pumpkin seeds are an easy way to boost this important mineral."

Trainor says pumpkin seeds also help increase the production of nitric oxide in the body. "This helps to open blood vessels and circulate blood more smoothly, helping with blood pressure," she says. "These seeds are also high in the amino acid tryptophan, which is vital to the production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood."

To add more pumpkin seeds into your life, Trainor recommends tossing some on top of your yogurt, mixing them into homemade granola, roasting them with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, and baking them into muffins.

"I often recommend muffins as a healthy snack or an on-the-go breakfast as they're portable, easy to meal prep, and offer a chance to get creative in the kitchen," she says. "For example, you can add your favorite protein powder or collagen to give muffins a protein boost, or boost anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and fiber by adding some chia or ground flax seeds into your muffin badder."

All you need to make this batch is almond flour, pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds, and a handful of other wholesome ingredients, and she's sharing her exact recipe below.

Pumpkin seed muffin recipe

12 muffins

2 cups almond flour
1 can (15 oz.) organic pumpkin purée
3 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Line muffin tin with parchment liners or silicone baking liners.
2. Fill the liners with the batter and top with pumpkin seeds.
3. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, making sure to rotate pan halfway through for even baking.
4. Let cool to room temperature and enjoy.

These healthy canned pumpkin recipes are anything but #basic. You can also make a batch of this four-ingredient vegan pumpkin fudge to snack on.

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