Food Feature – Pumpkin Seeds

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Halloween is over, but pumpkin season is not! And that includes the rest of the winter squashes, I may add. My mama gave me some amazing pumpkin seed powder over the weekend (from Styrian Gold). I also had just finished roasting the cups of pumpkin seeds scooped out from my halloween pumpkin, so it was good timing to continue my obsession. I want to share with all of you the incredible vast properties of pumpkin seeds…..they might surprise you!

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Pumpkin Seeds:
Seeds from pumpkins. But there are different pumpkins all over the world, and therefore different looking seeds. The ones we have here in Canada are mostly orange, with a white shell that is edible but usually gets removed prior to consumption. Inside the white shell is the little green pumpkin seed we all know and love.

Nutrients:
Fibre, protein, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, omega 3 fats, tryptophan…..

Uses:
Men’s Health – the high levels of selenium and zinc contribute to the health and wellness of sperm, the prostate, and the testes.

Thyroid Health – tryptophan, zinc, selenium, omega 3s and B-vitamins help nourish the thyroid and its proper functions: metabolism, hair growth, body temperature, and stress management.

Natural Sleep and Stress Aid – tryptophan is an amino acid found in high quantities in pumpkin seeds. Taken in the day, tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, your “happy” hormone that helps with anxiety and stress. Taken at night, tryptophan turns into melatonin, your sleeping hormone! Mixing pumpkin seed powder with warm water before bed can help with deeper sleep. A company called ZenBev has marketed pumpkin seed powder as a sleep aid, but I say skip the added dextrose and rice starch and just find a brand that’s 100% pumpkin seed flour (like Styrian Gold or Omega Nutrition).

Protein Powder – pumpkin seeds are full of protein and provide an easily-digestable, gluten-free and vegetarian choice. You’ll find pumpkin seed protein powder in the protein section of many health food stores. 1 tbsp can offer around 10 grams of protein.

Parasites – pumpkin seeds have an anti-parasitic effect! You can even give a scoop of the powder to pets with worms – just make sure to first ask your vet!

Skin Health – the zinc, vitamin A and omega 3 content in pumpkin seeds translates into smooth and plump skin 🙂

How to Consume:
DSC07751Roast pumpkin seeds fresh from a pumpkin! Scrape them out of the middle, give a quick rinse, then place on a baking sheet and season to your liking (we did salt, cayenne, garlic and Italian spices). It usually takes around 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Buy pumpkin seed oil and use it in salad dressings, in soups, on yogurt, in smoothies…..it has a light nutty taste and is very adaptable. It is meant as a COLD oil, so do not cook with it.
Buy (or make your own!) pumpkin seed protein powder by grinding shelled pumpkin seeds. Use in smoothies for an extra protein boost, on salads, in sauces….wherever! It has a really nice light taste that blends well with anything.

Try it out 🙂
-Emily

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