‘Tis the Season’ for Jack-O- Lanterns and Trick-or-Treat. Ever wonder what those pumpkins are smiling about? – It’s Pumpkin Seeds! Inside every pumpkin are scores of nutrient rich seeds just waiting to be eaten. Of course you can buy pumpkin seeds both cooked and raw at your local store, but if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, carving a pumpkin and saving the seeds can be a lot of fun. It’s so simple you can let the kids do it, and the nutritional benefits are considerable.
After opening your pumpkin, just scoop out the goopy seeds, rinse, and pull off any pulpy residue, then dry overnight. Spread the seeds on a cookie tray. You can spritz them with Olive oil if you like and add some salt, chili powder, or other spices. If you prefer a sweet treat, try brown sugar and cinnamon. *To keep the highest level of nutrients in the seeds, keep cooking time to no more than 20 minutes at about 350 degrees. I did them last week for 15 minutes and they were perfect for my taste. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. They last almost forever. – And here is a perk that you just can’t beat. Pumpkin seed become more nutritious with age. Yes you read that right. In tests done at the Massachusetts Experimental Station, pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months show notable increase in protein content!
So, how nutritious are they? Well here’s the rundown: A one ounce serving of roasted pumpkin seeds (about a handful) gives you 15 percent of the daily requirement of protein for men and 18 percent of the daily requirement for women. They are low in carbs, and high in fiber.
They are a good source of hard to find vitamin K. (See Linda Bonvie’s blog on why this matters,) and vitamin E, – The diverse forms of vitamin E in Pumpkin seeds is unique and provides more health benefits than a “fixed” vitamin. They also contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates.
Pumpkin seeds are a treasure trove of minerals, Phosphorous, magnesium, (80% of Americans are deficient in this important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, prevent cardiac arrest and stroke,) they also contain manganese, iron and copper.
The photosterols in pumpkin seeds help reduce LDL cholesterol!
Did you know – Pumpkin seeds hold the unique rank of being the most alkaline seed? So, If you suffer from acid stomach, this easy to store and carry snack could make your life a little easier, offering much more than an over the counter antacid.
Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds prevent kidney stone formation.
They can also reduce inflammation without any of the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Guys take note: Pumpkin seeds are good for prostate health! The oil from the seeds alleviates difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
If you have read my other bogs you know I am big on the benefits of sleep, (or maybe I am just lazy.) In any event, Pumpkin seeds contain L Tryptophan which can help you sleep and ward off depression.
So if you’ve been wondering what that big orange smile is really about, now you know, it’s Pumpkin seeds!