There are many side effects that come with aging, and a waning libido is one. Unfortunately for many of us who are getting older, the sex drive is just not what it used to be. In some instances this may result from a medical condition which may require treatment, but in other cases, more natural methods can be helpful. One possible natural remedy for a lackluster libido is roasted pumpkin seeds.

Nutritious and flavorful pumpkin seeds are available year round, although they are most fresh in the autumn months when pumpkins are in season. Some types of pumpkins produce seeds that are covered with a white husk, while other types yield seeds with no outer shell. Hulled and roasted pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas.

Pumpkins and their seeds belong to the gourd family of plants (Latin name: Cucurbitaceae). While they are high in calories, these come from high-quality protein and healthy, mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Pumpkin seeds are chock full of libido-boosting vitamins including the B vitamins and vitamins C, D, E and K. They also contain many minerals like calcium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Zinc is a key nutrient in the production and motility of sperm. As men age, levels of zinc naturally begin to decline which can result in prostate enlargement, balding and impotency. When zinc is added to the diet, testosterone levels are increased which is obviously important to the male sex drive. However, as zinc blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen, it can also be valuable for women. Research shows that higher levels of testosterone in women result in a greater sex drive.

In addition to zinc, pumpkin seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids. These are the precursors to prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are important for sexual health and desire. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been touted to help prevent depression, and myosin - another amino acid found in pumpkin seeds - is said to promote healthy muscle contraction, both of which may be helpful for an active sex life.

In addition to a possible libido boost, pumpkin seeds may also provide these benefits:

  • Prevention of kidney stones
  • Better function of the bladder
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Reduced chances for osteoporosis
  • Prevention of parasites

 Next year when you are carving your Halloween jack-o-lantern, be sure to save the seeds for roasting. They make a great, nutritious snack, and a handful of roasted pepitas can add taste and texture to salads - not to mention possibly put the spark back into your love life. Most experts agree that a quarter cup daily will do the trick... enjoy!