I carved pumpkins over the weekend at my parents house – yeah I know – so cool of me. Well, anyways I love spending time with family and I take every opportunity to do so because who knows where life will take Nico and I in a few years — we could live in another part of the world because of Nico’s job and then I won’t be able to carve pumpkins with the fam so easily!
We almost threw out the seeds this time. Luckily, dad made sure to gather them all up, rinse, separate all the stringy pumpkin pulp and roast them (325° F for 25 minutes, make sure to stir them around every 8 mins or so). It wasn’t until last year when someone I used to work with brought in a ziplock bag filled with a medley of in shell roasted pumpkin seeds and roasted coconut chips (he got these from Trader Joe) to snack on. I was hooked on the flavor combination and looked into the nutritional benefits of the pumpkin seeds.
It turns out pumpkin seeds are so much more than just the stuff you scoop out of your pumpkin at Halloween time to make those Jack-O-Lanterns. Pumpkin seeds are really good for you! Here are just 7 of the many health benefits:
- Plant-based protein. According to the USDA nutritional database, 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds offer 11.87 grams protein. You want that!
- Boost your magnesium: Young adult women should be consuming 310 mg (400 mg for men). Pumpkin seeds boasts 168 mg of magnesium in 1 cup! That’s more than half of what you need (for women)
- Increase potassium: One cup has more than a banana (588 mg). It is recommended that we consume 4,700 mg every day, which can be a lot to achieve that.
- Bolster your Immunity with Zinc: A very important mineral in our immune function.
- Prostate health: Beneficial in supporting prostrate health, according to research
- Improve your mood: L-tryptophan can naturally improve your mood and be effective against depression. Also, it was suggested that eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed can help with a achieving a good night sleep.
- A ton of antioxidants: this was my favorite thing to learn about in my college classes – antioxidants! Pumpkin seeds have a diverse mixture of antioxidants, which of course is SO good for you! Load up!
I hope you saved the seeds from your pumpkins this year! You can add so many toppings to them or eat them as they are (that’s what I did!) I also found some seasoning suggestions on the mnn.com site:
- 1/4 tsp salt, 1/16 tsp garlic salt, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce for each cup of seeds
- 1 tablespoon of seafood season (like Old Bay) for each cup of seeds
- 1/8 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper for each cup of seeds
- Tabasco sauce and salt — adjust to your taste
- Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper — adjust to your taste
- Pumpkin pie seasoning — adjust to your taste