To us there are so many soothing things about Fall–cooler weather, beautiful trees, the comeback of Malomars—but one of the best soothers for anxiety is the pumpkin. Okay, maybe not some of those scary ones people carve for Halloween. But the fruit itself is a natural anxiety reliever.
Pumpkin, particularly its seeds, contains a good amount of magnesium, often referred to as “nature’s Valium” for its calming effects on the nervous system. Magnesium increases the availability of GABA, a neurotransmitter which slows down the brain’s activity. Essentially, GABA chills the brain out so you are less likely to experience anxiety. Magnesium also reduces anxiety by inhibiting the release of stress hormones like cortisol and preventing them from getting into the brain. In addition, magnesium boosts serotonin and stabilizes blood sugar levels, which, in and of itself, goes a long way in decreasing anxiety.
Studies have consistently shown that more than three quarters of the population is estimated to be deficient in magnesium, so, chances are, you would be well-served to add some to your diet.
Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, iron, copper and zinc and stimulate the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). As such, pumpkin promotes higher quality, more restful sleep and a stronger immune system. Last, but certainly not least, pumpkin is high in anti-oxidants such as beta carotene, vitamins and fiber so it is a nourishing treat all around.
Share with us your favorite recipes for pumpkin everything!