When I filmed this video recipe for a pumpkin seed flatbread, I thought I had just found a delicious and relatively healthy way for my viewers to enjoy raw pumpkin seeds. I had heard they were a very nutritious snack, and wanted to try them, instead of pinenuts, on various recipes. Little did I know, I was really inventing an alternative medicine treatment.
That's right, as I researched the health benefits of these pretty green seeds, I discovered that not only did they have lots of nutritional benefits, but also contained large amounts of tryptophan, yes, that tryptophan, the "turkey valium" that you read about every year. While that nap you take after the thanksgiving meal is probably more from the massive amount of starchy food, than the tryptophan, there is a definite sleep/relaxation connection, as it aids in the brain's production of serotonin.
The following is from the Whitby Mental Health Centre website:
"A new study released in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology suggests that a Functional Food made primarily of pumpkin seeds could be an efficacious treatment for anxiety disorders… The study, entitled “Protein-Source as an Efficacious Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder”, describes that gourd seeds contain the highest concentration of tryptophan, the same amino acid found in milk and turkey, but at much higher levels. "
"One single gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk. In this study, subjects suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder were significantly less anxious when asked to speak in front of others one hour after eating the Functional Food rich in tryptophan in comparison to placebo. This finding demonstrates that tryptophan does more than induce sleep. In high light conditions, it is quickly converted to serotonin, which significantly reduces daytime anxiety levels."
So, if you're all tense about that big presentation, forget popping pills - go with a few slices of this flatbread recipe! I also believe it treats hunger as well. Enjoy!
prepared pizza dough (enough for 1 large thin pizza)
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, or as much as you like
4 oz Greek feta
1/3 cup Parmesan