Pumpkin Seeds with Almond Milk

By: Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic almond milk, homemade or store bought
  • 2 Tbsp. raw organic pumpkin seeds, ground

Method:

  1. Grind pumpkin seeds. Extra ground pumpkin seeds can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Do not grind more than one week supply.
  2. Warm almond milk in a small pot over low heat (DO NOT microwave)
  3. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with ground pumpkin seeds.

Note: This drink may be made in the evening and kept warm in a thermos to drink during the night.

Pumpkin Seeds with Almond MilkWhen you are in the advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, there is a very good chance that your symptoms include reactive hypoglycemia. Even if you don’t suffer from this problem, it is still a good idea to keep your energy levels stable by having energy boosting snacks between meals. The best snacks are low glycemic foods, including turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, or eggs, combined with a bit of carbohydrates, such as carrot sticks. In this recipe, the pumpkin seeds and almond milk are great sources of both protein and healthy fat. These can help keep both your blood sugar and your energy levels stable through the day.

By keeping your blood sugar stable, you’ll enjoy better sleep and better general health. Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but bedtime may be your most important snack of the day. A small snack consisting of protein and healthy fat will improve your quality of sleep and make it easier to sleep through the night without waking up hungry. If you do wake up, another light snack will make it easier to fall back to sleep.

Pumpkin seeds offer the added benefit of a healthy dose of tryptophan, an amino acid used to synthesize serotonin, which is then converted into the sleep hormone melatonin.

Keeping a healthy sleep cycle is difficult in adrenal fatigue since the imbalance in cortisol and other hormones throws the body’s circadian cycle and biological rhythms off balance. Instead of using powerful pharmacological agents that force the body to unconsciousness, using gentle dietary methods to promote the body’s natural rest state guides the body to a healthy circadian rhythm. The gentle approach is important with adrenal fatigue since the body’s functions are often severely compromised and misfiring, so the chance of an adrenal crash when the body comes under stress is an acute risk. Using this recipe as a bedtime snack to guide the body’s circadian cycle back into balance and promote restful sleep is an excellent way to boost adrenal health.

Along with protein, both almonds and pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to soothe the nervous system and promote better quality sleep. Magnesium is also a critical nutrient in the production of the cell’s energy molecules, DNA and RNA synthesis, heart function, bowel function, and formation of teeth and bones.

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of zinc. Zinc deficiency is a common problem in those with advanced adrenal fatigue. Without sufficient zinc, your body is unable to effectively absorb and assimilate certain micronutrients, which can lead to additional deficiencies. Among other functions, Zinc has also been shown to boost the immune system, promote healthy cell growth, regulate sleep and mood, and moderate insulin production.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of plant-based, omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Evidence suggests that ALA may help reduce oxidative stress on the body as well as lower diabetes risk by improving insulin sensitivity. Other studies show pumpkin seed oil to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be as effective as medication in treating arthritis.

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with other minerals besides magnesium and zinc, including phosphorus, manganese, iron, and copper. They are also a good source of vitamins E, K, and B complex.


Pumpkin Seeds with Almond Milk