Pumpkin seeds have been called one of the “world’s healthiest foods”. This is not just a flattering description. The World Health Organization rates foods for their nutritional benefits and pumpkin seeds score excellent on the food rating system.
Pumpkin seeds are edible, flat, oval-shaped green seeds inside a white shell. When removed from the flesh of a pumpkin, they are shelled, then rinsed and roasted, either plain or with flavours such as oils and spices, to create a delicious, crunchy snack.
You can roast the seeds in the shells and eat the shells for extra fibre. But for cooking and baking, it’s best to use the green seeds.
Pumpkin seeds may be small, but these soft, tasty seeds are powerhouses of nutrients and health benefits. Like nuts, pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3. They also contain a good range of nutrients including iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
But pumpkin seeds’ biggest claim to fame is that they are an excellent natural source of magnesium and zinc. Zinc supports your immune system and muscles. Magnesium plays a role in metabolism, helps you sleep, and is also good for your muscles.
There are even more benefits to pumpkin seeds beyond nutrition:
- They are ideal snacks because they fill your stomach for a longer duration and supress hunger pangs
- Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have anti-microbial benefits, including their anti-fungal and anti-viral properties
How to Enjoy
- Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables.
- Add ½ cup of seeds your Rice Crispy Squares recipe.
- Sprinkle on top of mixed green salads.
- Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
- Add to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
- Add to your oatmeal raisin cookie, muffin or granola recipe.
- Add some ground pumpkin seeds to your burgers, whether it be from vegetables, turkey or beef.
No Bake Pumpkin Seed Bars
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped finely
- 1 1/4 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup brown rice syrup (can sub for malt syrup, honey or molasses- NOT maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- sea salt
- In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
- In a saucepan, on low heat combine the brown rice syrup (or alternative) and coconut oil until fully incorporated and just beginning to bubble. Allow liquid to cool slightly.
- Add to dry mixture and stir well.
- Pour on a parchment-lined baking pan and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Remove and slice into bite size pieces.