9 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds and How to Use Them
Posted By Gautham PB on Thursday 25th February 2021
Are you one of those who throw away pumpkin seeds after eating the pumpkin? If yes, you are throwing a well of benefits along with it. Though small in size, pumpkin seeds pack a whole lot of benefits for everyone.
What are pumpkin seeds?
They are the flat, oval-shaped seeds of pumpkin, and are also known as pepita. While its hull is white in color, its inside is light green. They can be eaten with the shell after roasted or be shelled and only the inner germ eaten as a healthy snack.
1. Good source of minerals
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of manganese, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium. Each mineral helps the body in different ways, proving pepita’s many benefits.
A single serving of pumpkin seeds supplies 12-42% of the daily requirements of these minerals. The high levels of these minerals increases bone density to reduce bone weakness and osteoporosis symptoms.
- · Magnesium improves the mood and sleep
- · Manganese promotes skin and bone health by helping with collagen production
- · Iron and copper helps with energy production while iron also transports oxygen to cells
- · Zinc improves body immunity, vision and skin health. It also keeps the prostate healthy and ensures high fertility by boosting sperm quality.
2. Rich in antioxidants - Pumpkin cells are also packed with cell protective antioxidants which reduce inflammation and prevent premature aging and chronic diseases.
3. High in beneficial fats - Pepitas are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids which is helpful in heart disease protection, anti-inflammation and reduces the risks of hardening of arteries.
4. Controls blood sugar levels -Pepitas are low in carbs and a good source of plant protein. This proves helpful at protecting against type 2 diabetes or at least reduces complications by improving insulin regulation.
5. Anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic - Pumpkin seeds exhibit anti-fungal and anti-viral properties which is why they do not trigger allergies or intolerances. They are also associated with anti-parasitic activity to traditionally eliminate tapeworms and other dangerous body parasites.
6. Anticancer properties -Pumpkin seed extracts contain lignans which reduces breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
7. Reduces inflammation - Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, pepitas can help reduce arthritis pain and other inflammation. It also keeps tissues healthy.
8. Diuretic nature prevents kidney stones
9. Rich protein source -With 30% of pumpkin seeds comprising of proteins, it’s a rich source of proteins essential for tissue healthy and boosting metabolism.
How to eat pumpkin seeds
You will be surprised to know that there are various ways to eat pumpkin seeds.
· Eat them raw, which is the healthiest option.
· Roast or toast the seeds to add to salads, pesto, bread and more
· Add to anything from oatmeal to overnight oats, tacos, cooked veggies and even desserts
· Whip pumpkin seed butter into smoothies or swirled into yoghurt
· Use as the base for energy balls or bars
· Add them to rice puddings, gravies and soups for a crunchy texture
· Sprout them to use instead of other seeds like acorns
· Fry the seeds on a skillet with a little of olive oil till they start popping. If you want something sweet, add a tablespoon of sugar to the pan with the pumpkin seeds. Don’t add any oil but let the seeds caramelize till they start popping
· Make an interesting salad dressing by processing pumpkin seeds with parsley, fresh garlic and cilantro leaves. Add some olive oil and lemon juice for taste
· Enhance the taste of burgers and meatballs too. Just grind the seeds and add to the patties
How to roast pumpkin seeds
Roasting pumpkin seeds is easy. First extract the seeds using your fingers or an old, clean comb. You can either leave the shell for its flavor or remove them by soaking in water for a few hours.
Use a mesh strainer to strain the seeds, stir using a ladle or your hands so that the mesh catches the pulp remnants. The seeds generally slide out clean from the strainer.
Spread the seeds on a baking dish. Use a paper towel to pat dry them if wet. While seasoning isn’t necessary, if you want you can add some now if you want. Suggestions are adding:
· A bit of curry powder, cayenne pepper or chipotle flakes
· Some nutmeg or cinnamon for a sweet flavour
· Some salt for a salty taste.
Now place the seeds in the oven for 20 minutes or till golden and crunchy, and eat when cool.
· Always check to ensure the pepitas are not stale before use.
· Properly wash the seeds before storing.
· As pumpkin seeds are also high in calories, they can lead to obesity if eaten in excess.
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