It's autumn, the nights are cooler, pumpkins will be getting ripe and jack-o-lanterns are soon to be carved. Never toss the pumpkin seeds out with the unwanted pulp after cleaning the pumpkin. Those seeds are a valuable source of needed vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Manganese is vital to the proper functioning of the human body. One-quarter cup of lightly roasted pumpkin seeds can provide nearly 74 percent of the daily requirement of manganese. The seeds are also good sources of trytophan, magnesium, phosphrous, copper, zinc, protein and iron. There are 180 calories in the quarter-cup.
Trytophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body relax and prepare for sleep. A deficiency in this amino acid could cause mental health issues, such as depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and craving of carbohydrates.
Studies show that adequate levels of magnesium in the body are essential for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D and calcium. Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form.
Pumpkin seeds have antioxidants. Antioxidants fight the free radicals that age and deteriorate the human body. The seeds also contain vitamins E, K and A.
Roast the seeds:
- Cut open a pumpkin and scoop out the pulp and seeds.
- Remove any large bits of pulp and lay the seeds in a single layer on newspaper so the seeds can dry over night.
- Place the seeds on a cookie sheet that has been lightly wiped with extra-virgin olive oil.
- Preheat the oven to 160-170 Fahrenheit.
- Roast the seeds for ten to 20 minutes.
Roasting the seeds longer may damage the good fats inside them. For maximum zinc, eat the hull and the seed inside. However, most people prefer to shell them first.
How to utilize the seeds:
- Add the seeds to tossed salads.
- Eat the seeds as a nutritious snack.
- Grind the seeds, add a little oil and spices to use as a salad dressing.
- Bake the seeds inside muffins.
- Grind the seeds and use them as a gluten-free base for cheese cake.
- Use the seeds in homemade granola.
For those who don't carve pumpkins in the fall, the seeds can be purchased most anywhere. The seeds keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of months.