The end of October is nearing and what does this mean? Halloween! And what comes with Halloween? Pumpkins!
I bet you didn’t realize that pumpkins are actually filled with many vitamins and minerals and the vibrant orange colour is a dead give away of its high concentration of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A to prevent vision related problems, it can enhance immune function, promote healthy cell communication and improve reproductive health.
Pumpkin seeds are often over looked and are actually a very nutritious and delicious snack. For all you fella’s out there, pumpkin seeds may promote prostate health through means of antioxidants, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Zinc also protects and maintains bone mineral density, especially in the hip and spine. These seeds contain a good amount of phytosterols (approximately 265mg/100g), which have the ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune response and potentially reduce the risk of some cancers. Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of iron, vitamin K, protein and many other minerals.
Pumpkin seeds can be added to a variety of different dishes for added nutrition like a salad, to a granola recipe, a stirfry, etc. So this weekend, when you’re carving your pumpkins and getting ready for the big night, don’t forget to roast up those seeds for a nutritiously tasty and inexpensive snack!
Here’s a quick recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds:
1. After hollowing out the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the stringy pumpkin pulp.
2. Rinse the seeds to remove any remaining pumpkin
3. Lay seeds out on a paper towel to dry
4. Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat (about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil)
5. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325° F until toasted, approximately 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
6. Let cool and enjoy!
In lieu of salt, you could add your favourite seasonings like a Cajun seasoning blend, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, etc.