Healthy Seasonal Snack

by Lauren on October 2, 2012

Pumpkin seeds are a staple in my diet; I put a handful in my Homemade Cereal every morning. Not only do they taste great – they have a nutty flavor, a great crunch, and they sort of pop in your mouth when you eat them, but they’re really good for you too!

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of minerals (which can be difficult to get from produce these days as the mineral levels in soil are lower than they used to be) such as:

Zinc:
-Strengthens your immune system
-Foods high in zinc are classified as aphrodisiacs (ex. Oysters), but not because they ‘get you in the mood.’  It’s because zinc is important for healthy prostate function & reproductive organ growth (I know, the real reason sounds boring in comparison)
-Plays a critical role in normal functioning of the brain & nervous system (getting enough zinc is important if you suffer from anxiety or are an anxious person)

Potassium:
-Important for overall health and to maintain the proper ratio of sodium in our cells, which helps keep our bodies properly hydrated!

Phosphorus:
-Assists in the proper absorption of calcium, which makes it really important for healthy bones & teeth

Magnesium:
-A key player in over 300 enzyme reactions (enzyme reactions keep our body working properly)
-Can help prevent stroke & heart attack, and reduce the severity of migraines & PMS symptoms

L-tryptophan:
-Not a mineral, but an essential amino acid that can help with anxiety & mood disorders

They are also a great source of protein & essential fatty acids (EFAs); including omega-3. Foods that are rich in EFAs are good for proper brain function, healthy skin and reducing inflammation.

If you plan to carve a pumpkin in the next couple weeks you can roast your own (here’s an easy recipe, but make sure you use grapeseed oil instead of olive oil as it has a higher burning point), but you can also buy them pre-roasted (no salt) at Bulk Barn. Make sure to store them in a sealed glass container in your fridge. Similar to oil, nuts & seeds go rancid when exposed to heat & light, which can create free radicals in your body (increases risk of cancer & premature aging).

Add pumpkin seeds to your diet this week – try my Homemade Cereal recipe, add pumpkin seeds to your trail mix (ex. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, & raisins), or try pumpkin seed butter instead of your usual nut butter!

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