I have said this before, but I truly believe that eating is linked to how you feel and how you perform. Although food is not the be all and end all, I normally start my treatment of most things with food.
Have a cold setting in? I reach for the garlic before I reach for cold medicine.
Have a headache? I drink a tall glass of water before popping an ibuprofen.
So when I had a stress fracture, I had no idea what I could do to change my diet to heal a bone faster, but I was going to try. I emailed my naturopath and explained the situation and asked her to send through a few tweaks to help expedite the bone healing process.
Her answer was simple. Add more fat. She has been working with me on this for a long time, and I have slowly made improvement like cooking with coconut oil and having avocado every day on my salad, but this month, she started stressing pumpkin seeds.
I am not much of a pumpkin fan. Pumpkin spice lattes are not my style and if you bake a loaf of pumpkin bread, it will never disappear in my presence. But pumpkin seeds? It’s like heathy, fatty crack for me. I am not a fan of the home made ones, although I am sure those are best for you.
Here is why pumpkin seeds pack a sports nutrition punch:
Fat - loaded with healthy fat, it helps to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. Fats are involved in calcium metabolism and the vitamins K2 and D are both fat-soluble nutrients that collaborate in building bone. Many factors influence bone health, but providing the building blocks for bone with adequate “good” fats and the ideal omega-3 and -6 ratio can only help.
Anti-inflammatory - Injury often results in extra inflammation. Pumpkin seed oil has anti-inflammatory elements that keeps swelling down and speeds up healing.
Magnesium – One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium which helps with heart health, stress management, proper bone formation and gut health.
Zinc - Loaded with zinc, pumpkin seeds provide immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health and insulin regulation.
Sleep - Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” The more you sleep, the faster you heal. It sounds like a win/win to me.
Right now, I am enjoying pumpkin seeds either on a snack on their own or sprinkling on a salad.
The salad I am currently loving is nothing fancy, but I feel like a million bucks after eating it every day.
Spinach, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad
1.5 cups Spinach
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of chickpeas
Dressing made with Olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and pepper
Mix it all together and enjoy your feast of healthy fats.
What new food have you added to your diet recently that has left you feeling pretty good about yourself?