of Pumpkin Seeds
Considering their small size, pumpkin seeds benefits are aplenty. From an abundance of omega-3 to a powerful punch of zinc, these super seeds aren’t just for pulling out of pumpkins come halloween—they deserve a place in your everyday diet!
Whether you want to get clued up on the benefits of pumpkin seeds, are intrigued by pumpkin seeds nutrition or are simply looking for a few healthy pumpkin seed recipe ideas to try, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled everything we know about pumpkin seeds into this handy guide.
What are pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds of a (you guessed it) pumpkin. Whole pumpkin seeds are flat and oval, with a white outer husk (shell). Once the outer shell is removed, they’re a dark green colour.
Pumpkin seeds are a popular healthy snack due to their naturally occurring healthy fats and impressive 35% protein content. Taste-wise, they’re nutty and subtly sweet, with a chewy texture.
Before we delve into the top pumpkin seeds benefits, take a quick look at their impressive nutritional profile.
Pumpkin seeds nutrition
A 28g serving of roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds contains approximately 163 calories, 14g fat (of which only 2.4g is saturated), 1.8g dietary fibre, 8.5g protein and only 2.4g net carbs.
Pumpkin seeds also have a stand-out micronutrient profile, with the same 28g serving boasting:
- Phosphorus: 333.4mg | 60% RDI
- Iron: 2.3mg | 26% men’s RDI, 15% women’s RDI
- Potassium: 223.8mg | 6% RDI
- Magnesium: 156.2mg | 56% men’s RDI, 57% women’s RDI
- Zinc: 2.2mg | 23% men’s RDI, 31% women’s RDI
For such a small and versatile ingredient, pumpkin seeds nutrition is certainly impressive.
Pumpkin seeds benefits
Impressed yet? You will be after this! Here are six key pumpkin seed benefits, followed by some simple ways to incorporate them into your everyday diet.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein
35% protein by weight, pumpkin seeds are an amazing vegan protein source. They contain all 9 essential amino acids, which, unlike many other plant proteins, makes them a complete protein. With no cooking and prep time required, they’re incredibly easy to sprinkle on meals or eat as a snack for a high-quality plant protein top-up for vegans and non-vegans alike.
For more information on the benefits of protein, head to our high-protein diet guide.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in unsaturated fats
Pumpkin seeds contain good amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). A 28g serving contains:
- Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
- Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
Studies have shown that eating pumpkin seeds can lead to reduced blood pressure and increased ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, which are both proven benefits of a balanced diet high in unsaturated fats.
Pumpkin seeds are extremely high in magnesium
Pumpkin seeds are on the best plant-based sources of magnesium out there, providing over half of the recommended daily intake in a single 28g serving. Pretty impressive, right?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and has numerous roles and benefits within the body, including:
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc
If that impressive magnesium content wasn’t enough to get you hooked on these super seeds, their zinc content might. A 28g serving of pumpkin seeds provides upwards of 23% of the RDI of zinc, making it one of the best natural sources available to you.
Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in the bod, with benefits and uses including:
The way you prep and cook your pumpkin seeds can affect the amount of zinc that they’ll provide. If a zinc boost is your main aim, it’s best to eat unshelled pumpkin seeds. Why? The main concentration of zinc is found in the ‘endosperm envelope’ of pumpkin seeds; the layer directly underneath the shell.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds are packed with protective antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin E.
Antioxidants help to prevent and slow damage to cells caused by free radicals in the body. Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, such as pumpkin seeds, can reduce your risk of numerous diseases, including certain cancers and heart disease.
In fact, a 2012 study in Germany concluded that a high consumption of pumpkin seeds may be linked to a lowered risk of breast cancer.
How to use pumpkin seeds
Before you add this great little seed to your dishes, make sure you prepare them properly. Clean the seeds by tipping them into a sieve and washing them under cold water. Be sure to pull away any of the pulp, too! Here’s everything you need to know about using pumpkin seeds, from recipes to preparation.
Pumpkin healthy seed recipe ideas
Alongside the impressive pumpkin seeds benefits above, these nutrient-dense seeds provide a tasty additional crunch to meals and recipes. They’re super versatile; here are a few different ways to use pumpkin seeds in your everyday meals:
- Sprinkle them over soup
- Give salads some crunch
- Add to healthy baking recipes
- Blend into smoothies
- Scatter inside sandwiches
- Make pumpkin seed butter
- Blend into homemade pesto or hummus
- Roast them and enjoy as a snack
- Use a garnish on any meal
- Stir into protein porridge oats
How to roast pumpkin seeds
The best way to cook pumpkin seeds is to roast them.
- Boil some salted water in a pan
- Boil the clean seeds for up to 10 minutes
- Drain the seeds on a kitchen towel
- Preheat your oven to 180C / Gas 4
- Add the seeds to a baking tray with a little oil and seasoning—try soy sauce or garlic powder.
- Roast your seeds flat in the oven for around 10 minutes
- Allow seeds to cool and enjoy!
Pumpkin seeds in Purition
We love pumpkin seeds so much that we made them one of the 7 core ingredients in our real food protein powders. We use pumpkin kernels which originate from Northern Greece, where they’ve been grown and harvested for thousands of years. The area we source our pumpkin seeds from has well-irrigated soil and a mild Mediterranean climate. This means our pumpkin kernels are grown in particularly clean, pure and fertile soil. Simply put, they’re the best of the best!
Sowing takes place as soon as the weather starts to get warmer. This is around early April, with harvesting taking place in late August. These pumpkin seeds are traditionally enjoyed by locals in their shells, roasted and salted. A small percentage is sorted, cleaned and dehulled (taken out of the hard outer shell) into kernels (the inner soft part).
Most commercially available pumpkin seeds (also known as Pepitas in North America and Australian) are grown without the hard outer shell and are sourced from China. They are very dark green, quite broad and flat and prone to bitterness. Our Greek pumpkin seeds are grown in the shell and once dehulled are much lighter in colour, narrow and plump which results in a beautiful, mild taste with a softer texture. We think being on first name terms with the supplier and having visited the supplier and growers makes a real difference. Here at Purition we go the extra distance to have as much farm-to-table traceability as possible, whilst actively championing fewer food miles by always buying from within the EU.
For more information about our extensive range of protein powders, including gluten free, vegan and dairy free options, head to our website. You can also find more nutritional tips for a healthier diet by heading to our blog.