When the summer turns to fall, pumpkin flavors can be found everywhere. Not only is the flavor of pumpkin delicious, but it is good for you as well! In fact, the seeds of the pumpkin are loaded with healthy nutrients, not to mention a satisfying crunch. Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds and how to roast them yourself at home.
Recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
With all of the health benefits mentioned above, pumpkin seeds are definitely something you should include in your diet. Here is a quick and easy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds that you can try today.
- 1 medium pumpkin (or 1 ½ cups raw pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and flesh.
- Separate the seeds and rinse them very well.
- Pat the seeds dry with paper towel or let them air dry for a few hours.
- Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl then toss in the seeds to coat.
- Spread the seeds on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the seeds are toasted, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes.
- Let the seeds cool completely and store in an airtight container.
What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?
As small as they are, pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients. A 1-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds contains about 150 calories with nearly 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of carbohydrate, and 7 grams of protein. There is also 13 grams of fat, but 6 of them come from healthy omega-6 fatty acids. Other nutrients found in pumpkin seeds include vitamin K, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. There are also plenty of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The antioxidants in pumpkin seeds – namely vitamin E and carotenoids – help to reduce inflammation in the body and protect your cells against free-radical damage. The nutrients in these tasty seeds help to reduce the risk for certain kinds of cancer including stomach, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers. The magnesium content of pumpkin seeds supports many chemical reactions in the body, helping to provide the following benefits:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing the risk for heart disease
- Supporting bone health
- Regulating blood sugar levels
In addition to controlling blood pressure, pumpkin seeds can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They are high in fiber which is essential for healthy digestion and they may improve the quality of your sleep as well. They can even boost fertility.
Tips for Gathering Your Own Seeds
If you want to enjoy the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, the best way is to harvest them yourself from a fresh pumpkin. If you’ve never carved a jack-o-lantern before, however, you may not know the first thing about how to scoop the seeds.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide.
- Use a sharp knife to cut around the stem, making sure to cut all the way through the rind.
- Pull the top of the pumpkin off and set it aside.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
- Separate the seeds and pulp as much as you can, placing the seeds in a colander.
- Rinse the seeds well and remove all of the strings.
- Spread the seeds out on a clean towel to dry then roast as desired.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of scooping out a pumpkin yourself, you can always purchase raw pumpkin seeds at the store. Just make sure they are raw if you want to roast them yourself and pay attention to whether they have already been salted or not.
Whether you want to scoop fresh seeds out of a pumpkin or simply roast raw seeds you bought at the store, roasted pumpkin seeds are a nutritious and delicious snack. Just give them a try!