My Healthy Snack of the Week

pumpkin seeds

 

As it’s Halloween Week then of course it should be pumpkin seeds!

These little green pips are full of nutritional goodness, packing a power house punch to your snack break.

The green seeds you can see in the photo are the raw, shelled commercial version compared to the larger, white seeds you may have scraped out of your pumpkin for Halloween.

Each seed is packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that fight free radical damage in cells.

So how can pumpkin seeds help you?

  1. They’re high in zinc –  Zinc helps provide healthy brain function, aids fertility, DNA replication and is a critical nutrient for cell function.
  2. They’re high in manganese – Manganese helps provide energy and protects your cells from stress.
  3. They contain phosphorus – Phosphorus helps the body make healthy bones and teeth.
  4. They contain magnesium – Magnesium supports a healthy nervous system.
  5. They contain copper – Copper helps the bodies’ immune system and provides healthy skin and hair.

Now, if you check out the calories and nutritional information label on the packet you may be a bit surprised to find that pumpkin seeds are quite high in calories.  This is because they are dense in protein and fats.  However, the fats they contain are actually beneficial and not to be avoided.  If you are calorie counting for weight loss though, just be aware of your portion size.  The fats they contain are mainly mono-unsaturated fatty acids or “good fats”.  These fats help to lower the bad LDL cholesterol  and increase your good HDL cholesterol.  This all means that they can help prevent coronary artery disease and stroke risk.

How best to use pumpkin seeds?

Well, I like mine sprinkled over yogurt and fruit for breakfast.  You could also sprinkle them over a salad, porridge, granola or just enjoy them as a little handful on their own.  You can also bake them into healthy muffins and cakes.

Enjoy!

Avoid giving pumpkin seeds to small children as they could be a choking hazard.

Sources: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com, http://www.blog.graze.com

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