Pumpkin Party: The Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween might be fraught with nutrition frights, but pumpkin seeds aren’t one of them. They are full of good things and easy to make. Read on for instructions on making these little treats.

Have you noticed that most celebrations revolve around food and alcohol? It’s hard enough to stay on track during Halloween without my favorite booser friends yelling, “C’mon! It’s just one drink!” or “Have a piece of candy!”

That’s what so great about a pumpkin carving party. It doesn’t need alcohol to be fun (although, I’m sure a few would argue that it would help) and it takes some time and effort to carve up one of those suckers. Plus, it’s kinda fun to sift through the gooey seeds so you can bake them up for later. Have you had hot pumpkin seeds fresh from the oven? They’re awesome.

Plus here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds:

  • They’re rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) which helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good cholesterol (HDL).
  • They’re high in calories but also a good source of protein. Approximately 100g of pumpkin seeds provides 556 calories but 30g of high quality protein.
  • They can help you sleep AND de-stress. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which helps aid sleep. They also contain glutamate which is needed by the brain to synthesize GABA, an anti-stress neurochemical.
  • Pumpkin seeds are a great source of Vitamin E, a host of B-complex vitamins, and folates (also helping lower cholesterol and aid GABA activity in the brain).
  • Pumpkin seeds also contain copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. These seeds are so rich in manganese that 100g contain 198% of daily recommended intake. (My experience has also taught me eating foods with manganese lessen my chocolate cravings so this is a great find for me.)

Have I sold you on the benefits of pumpkin seeds? Cool.

How can you make them, you ask? Easy.

halloween pumpkin, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds, healthy seedsPrepping the pumpkin seeds:

  1. Separate the seeds from the stringy pumpkin insides.
  2. Put seeds in a bowl or colander and rinse under a faucet to remove any remaining pumpkin.
  3. Lay seeds out on paper towels to dry.

Baking the pumpkin seeds:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Toss seeds in a bowl with 2tsp of melted butter per 1 1/2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds and add a pinch salt. Stir it up and spread on a baking sheet.
  3. OR spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and spray with butter-flavored cooking spray and then add salt. (You can also spice it up with other seasonings like garlic, cayenne, or cinnamon.)
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir every 10 minutes during baking.

Happy Halloween! Do you have any favorite recipes or uses for pumpkin seeds? Share in the comments below. 

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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