Pump Up Your Nutrition with Pumpkin Seeds
It’s that time of year when people embrace all things pumpkin. Although many pumpkin-flavored treats should be on the once-in-a-while list, real pumpkin and pumpkin seeds make the A-list -- an everyday choice.
It doesn’t get the positive attention it deserves. Pumpkin (fresh or canned) has lots of fiber and vitamin A, which means it’s great for your gut and good for your vision. A cup of pumpkin provides 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A for women and 75% for men. This squash can be added to many dishes all year-round, not just prepared as pumpkin pie during the holidays. Try these ideas to boost your pumpkin consumption:
- Mix canned pumpkin into non-dairy yogurt, add pumpkin seeds and Caveman Foods Cinnamon Crunch Grain Free Granola for a satisfying mix of spice and crunch
- Add chunks of pumpkin along with carrots, butternut squash, and turnips, to your roasted vegetables
- Make a pumpkin smoothie with pumpkin, coconut milk, cauliflower, banana, and spices
- Blend up some pumpkin soup or create a pumpkin stew
- Make Pumpkin-chia seed pudding topped with pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, also have a lot to offer. Along with being a good source of plant-based protein, they have fiber for better gut health, zinc to help boost immunity, and magnesium for healthy bones, blood sugar and blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that can help you sleep better. Tryptophan is also responsible for helping the body make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that helps you relax and unwind. So, not only do pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, the serotonin just might improve your mood. There are so many health benefits you get from pumpkin seeds, as well as other powerful seeds.
You can eat pumpkin seeds with or without their shells. But eating them with the shells doubles the fiber, which is great for your gut health. For a fun fall activity, try your hand at roasting fresh pumpkin seeds.
- Scoop the seeds from the pumpkin
- Soak them in water for two hours to help remove the pulp from the shells
- Thoroughly dry the seeds, then toss with oil
- Spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet, season with salt, pepper, and any other spices.
- Bake on the top rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F or until browned and crispy.
Freshly made and store-bought pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Although you can eat them several months later, they lose peak freshness after two months.
Try these ideas to get your daily pumpkin seed fix:
- Add pumpkin seeds to fruit salad
- Add ¼ cup pumpkin seeds to homemade trail mix
- Mix pumpkin seeds with non-dairy yogurt
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on side dishes or tossed green salad
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on blended soups like butternut squash or roasted red pepper soup
- Grab a delicious Caveman Foods Grain Free Granola Bar or Salted Almond Butter Protein bar for a pumpkin seed boost
With all the health benefits that pumpkin and pumpkin seeds offer, always keep some in your kitchen to add them to your fall foods and beyond.
Made with delicious super seeds and grain-free ingredients
Jill West, RDN is Director of Nutrition for Caveman Foods. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, she believes the best nutrition plan needs to be tailored to each individual’s genetics, lifestyle, and food tolerances, not “one-size-fits-all”.
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