Power-Packed Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin-seeds-with-pumpkin-and-leavesWhether you’ve got some leftover pumpkin seeds from this year’s Jack-o-lantern or are getting your seeds from the grocery store, you can feel great about the health benefits of a tasty pumpkin seed snack all year round.

In the herbal world, pumpkin seeds are perhaps best known for their ability to protect and nourish the cardiovascular system and the prostate. Herbalists love to laud pumpkin seeds for their effect on BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and an overactive bladder. Pumpkin seed oil is a common ingredient in herbal blends to protect, nourish and normalize the prostate. It can be combined with saw palmetto and nettle root for extraordinary tonifying results.

Pumpkin seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Their high levels of magnesium and zinc are particularly helpful in protecting the heart and promoting normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They provide a powerful nutritional punch and a healthy boost of energy for the body during times of stress.

In addition to being cardiovascular and prostate protectors, pumpkin seeds are also great for elevating mood and fighting off depression. Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, which is known to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and help with sleep problems. Glutamate, another amino acid within pumpkin seeds, creates anti-stress chemicals in the brain, helping to reduce nervousness and anxiety.

Pumpkin seeds are also a great source Omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely nourishing to the brain and nervous system and help to improve memory and mood. Pumpkin seeds’ high levels of zinc also work to support immune function and ward off unfriendly pathogens.

Pumpkin seeds are easy to prepare, and there are so many creative and healthy ways to eat them. Before roasting them in the oven, you can mix the seeds with olive oil or melted butter and toss them with any herbs and spices that you like. Substitute honey for the olive oil and toss them in cinnamon to make a sweet treat that won’t cause a blood sugar spike.

To make the plain, roasted seeds, just put a cup or two of raw seeds in a pan over medium heat. Keep an eye on them and stir frequently, as they burn easily. When they start to pop, they’re just about ready and you can pour them into a dish to cool.

Here are a few recipes to get started:

Turmeric Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil or melted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional) or 2 drops of your favorite hot sauce
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well
Spread over a baking sheet
Bake for 5-8 minutes or until plump and brown
Remove from oven and let cool

Garlic & Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well
Spread over a baking sheet
Bake for 25 minutes or until plump and golden
Remove from oven and let cool
Top with extra Parmesan

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon melted butter
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
Spread over a baking sheet
Bake for 30 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool

 

Enjoy!

 

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