More Than A Breath of Fresh Mountain Air

Let’s travel in our minds now to the foothills of the Alps, to the Austrian province of Steiermark. Imagine the breathtaking view of the Alps, the fresh mountain air with rich pine scents. Let’s head out to the farmer’s market where the aroma of fresh fruits and vegetables fills the air.

This is an area of the world known for the highest number of organic farmers per capita and it’s an area where the soil loam is rich in minerals.

Here you’ll find the Styrian pumpkin, an heirloom variety that is grown for its seeds that are then pressed into oil. One pumpkin yields only one ounce of oil, but those who have tasted its goodness agree that the rich, nutty taste of this pumpkin seed oil not only reflects the nutrients in the soil but it’s also a perfect complement to a wide variety of dishes.

The pumpkin tap root grows six feet underground, collecting as many minerals as it can, especially zinc and selenium, two minerals most Americans are deficient in. The Styrian pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamins E and A, and like flax seed oil, it’s high in omega-3 and omega-6 oils and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which has been found to delay and/or prevent the development of cancer metastases, especially in breast cancer.

One study found a protective effect on prostate cells from pumpkin seed oil when hormones were given. The oil is known to prevent and alleviate bladder problems in both sexes, and it’s common knowledge that eating pumpkin seeds relieves enlarged prostate gland symptoms.

Pumpkin seeds have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and contain most B vitamins, vitamin D, E, K, and C, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Some researchers find them helpful against depression (due to a high tryptophan content) and learning disabilities.

In the 1700’s, when the Austrian government discovered that the farmers and peasants were healthier than government officials, a thorough investigation resulted. The mystery was solved with evidence that the only thing different in the two diets was the inclusion of pumpkin seed oil in poor peasants’ diet. Rumor has it that the government then allowed pumpkin seed oil only for medicinal uses, not as a food. Now, though, times have changed and we can partake in this Austrian delicacy.

Old herbal remedy books list pumpkin seeds as an effective parasite eliminator; one tapeworm recipe suggests eating a mixture of the seeds with milk and honey, then followed with castor oil two hours later. The tapeworms are eliminated. The Chinese report the use of pumpkin seeds for the treatment of another parasitic disease, schistosomiasis.

Pumpkin seed oil is a delicious alternative to butter and can be combined with other oils to make salad dressings. You can also add the oil to salads, top baked potatoes with it, sprinkle on top of vegetable and grain dishes or to protein drinks, smoothies and shakes.

Since the beginning of time, man has partaken of a wide variety of perfect foods from his own environment in season. Now, we are able to use foods from all areas of the world with very little inconvenience and the result is the health we all desire and deserve.

Consider adding a little of each of these culinary treasures from the tropics, the old Roman empire, and the Alps to your diet and see how easily your ailments improve while your taste buds soar to a global level.