Pumpkin carving is one of my favourite Halloween traditions, it’s creative, fun and very messy. The left over pumpkin ‘guts’ add a delicious fall flavour when used for pies, muffins etc. You can eat the seeds by them selves or add them to trail mixes, pesto sauce or even put on cereal. Pumpkin seeds are a ‘superfood’ and are full of amazing health benefits. Here’s a list from LiveLighter.org detailing those benefits.
1. Tryptophan. Like other foods of the season (turkey, for one), pumpkin seeds have been found to contain a compound called tryptophan, which naturally helps fight feelings of depression. Those who indulge in the seed of the pumpkin will find themselves satisfied and content.
2. Zinc. This mineral is often found in multivitamins because it not only helps bolster your immune system, it also effectively fights against osteoporosis. A half cup a day provides about a third of the amount you need.
3. Magnesium. This is just one of many electrolytes needed by the body, and one in which most people are deficient. Luckily, a half cup of pumpkin seeds can give you almost your entire recommended daily serving of magnesium.
4. Phytosterols. These compounds found in pumpkin seeds pack a 1-2 punch when it comes to your health. For starters, they have been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol, which can often lead to heart disease. In addition, they may be effective in the prevention of many different forms of cancer.
5. Iron. For those of you that suffer from anemia (ladies, this one’s for you), a diet high in iron can really make a difference in your energy level. A half cup of pumpkin seeds has about half of your recommended daily intake of iron, so think about adding them to your cereal or throwing some in a smoothie before you reach for those stomach-churning supplement pills.
6. Additional benefits. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds are effective at preventing and reducing benign prostatic hypertrophy (BHP), an enlargement of the prostate gland commonly found in men over fifty. They may also be helpful in treating arthritis (due to anti-inflammatory properties), as well as providing high levels of manganese, phosphorous, copper and vitamin K. Finally, they are a high-protein, low-calorie snack that can be eaten plain or mixed with many other foods.
Not only are these little seeds ridiculously good for you but they can be tasty as well. This Halloween season I wanted to try a twist on the regular salted pumpkin seed recipe. Here’s my recipe for Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
First step is to wash the seeds thoroughly and try to remove as much of the sticky ‘guts’ from the seeds as possible. I find that a strainer works well if you transfer back and forth from a bowl and pick out the stringy guts as you go. It’s a messy job and definitely the most tedious part about baking pumpkin seeds.