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‘What to eat!’ series – #8 Pumpkin Seeds

 

Pumpkin seeds are powerhouses of healthy nutrients.

As well as providing fibre, they are an excellent source of proteins and healthy fats (polyunsaturated Omega-3). They also pack magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper & zinc, & vitamin K & good amounts of antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamin E), potassium, B2 and folate.

They are anti-inflammatory & therefore protective against many diseases. They can:

  • Improve gut health – fibre contents
  • Improve immunity – zinc contents
  • Assist with weight management – fibre increases satiety
  • Improve urinary function
  • Assist sleep: they contain tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin, which then converts to melatonin = sleep hormone), zinc & magnesium contents
  • Reduce risk of certain cancers – antioxidants
  • Regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Improve heart health by increasing levels of nitric oxide → dilates blood vessels → increase blood flow, & high level of magnesium
  • Improve bone health – magnesium

And they are super easy to add to our diet! They can be a great snack option, eaten raw or roasted & added to many dishes: cereals, soups, salads, breads or cakes. They do, however, contain phytic acid which can clash with the absorption of other nutrients. As such, it is best to soak them before use to reduce phytic acid levels. Once soaked, get the crunch back by roasting them. This gives them an additional  umami flavour – delicious. Bear in mind they are high in calories so don’t go crazy on them: a small handful goes a long way.

Pumpkin seeds can be a wonderful addition to your diet and can help you in many ways. As a rich source of Omega-3, they are especially beneficial to vegans or vegetarians who cannot get this essential fat from animal sources.

I am passionate about food and you can find more ingredients’ info, recipes and nutrition info on my website. Feel free to contact me on 07788 444 199 / [email protected]