Pumpkin Seeds Pack a Nutritional Punch

Pumpkin seeds are a versatile source of mineral zinc.  They are a great source of dietary fiber, unsaturated fat and protein. Despite these great nutritional components, pumpkin seeds are relatively high in calories, and should be eaten only in moderation. They have 285 calories in 1 cup (1 cup of sunflower seeds contains 745 calories!).

When buying whole seeds, look for seeds that are uniform in size.  Choose the ones that are compact, cream-white or light yellow and free from cracks, mold, spots or rancid smell.

Unlike tree nuts, it’s rare to have a pumpkin seed allergy.  What you should be mindful of is if you purchase the finished seeds, they may be processed in facilities that manufacture nut-oriented products and therefore, cross-contamination may occur.

Raw pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed as a snack.  To receive the most nutrition from the pumpkin seed, buy them with the shell and no salt.  The very thin-skin layer that surrounds the unprocessed seed is where a lot of goodness is located.

You can buy the seeds toasted, or toast them at home to control the oil and salt levels. Using a rimmed baking sheet, turn on the oven to 325 degrees.  You can lightly spray with butter flavored or olive oil cooking spray, grapeseed or sesame oil and lightly dust with Cajun or seasoning spices to achieve the desired flavor.

Pumpkin seeds can be added to quick breads or spread over 0% Greek yogurt and berries.

Also read: Crunchy Chickpeas


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