Pumpkin Seeds Are Packed With L-Tryptophan

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Pumpkin Seeds Are Packed With L-Tryptophan
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

They may be small and underutilized, but pumpkin seeds are packed with a truckload of valuable nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, healthy fats, and L-tryptophan. In this post, we’ll focus more on the latter due to its potent effects on mood and sleep quality.

What is Tryptophan?

Ever wondered why turkey is widely associated with boosting your mood and helping you relax? The answer lies with its constitution of tryptophan – an essential amino acid that is important for serotonin production, brain function, healthy sleep, and overall growth and development. [1]

Interestingly, a handful of pumpkin seeds contain more tryptophan than a whole turkey dinner. Specifically, a nutritional comparison of turkey/chicken and pumpkin seeds shows that they contain 404mg (144% RDI) and 576mg (206% RDI), respectively. [2][3] This indicates that pumpkin seeds may be a more potent ingredient for better sleep.

Additionally, some studies suggest that magnesium in pumpkin seeds may improve total sleep time and sleep quality. [4] Zinc is also associated with improved production of serotonin and melatonin, which regulate your sleep cycle.

How to Incorporate Pumpkin Seeds into Your Diet

Are you sold on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds? You can easily incorporate them into your diet by either eating them unsalted, salted, roasted, or (best) raw. You can add the seeds into your Greek yogurt, soups, cereal, and smoothies. Sprinkle them on salads or on top of cheese on toast, or sardines on toast. And if you feel adventurous, toss some ground seeds into your baking flour.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.


[1] Halson, S. L. 2014. Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008810/.

[2] Nutrition Comparison of Lean Chicken Breast (Cooked) vs Lean Chicken Breast (Cooked) vs Lean Chicken Breast (Cooked) https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison.php?food1=05746&food2=05746&food3=05746&serv1=&serv2=&serv3=.

[3] Nutrition Comparison of Dried Pumpkin And Squash Seeds vs Dried Pumpkin And Squash Seeds vs Dried Pumpkin And Squash Seed https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison.php?food1=12014&food2=12014&food3=12014&serv1=&serv2=&serv3=.

[4] Chollet, D. et al. 2001. Magnesium involvement in sleep: genetic and nutritional models. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11777170.

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