Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds, 3 Ways To Use Them

Pumpkins may have been associated with Halloween, as carved jack-o'-lanterns and delicious pumpkin pies but they’re more than just decoration. And pumpkins have also found their place in the diverse and vibrant world of Indian cuisine, adding a touch of flavour and colour to a variety of dishes. In Indian cooking, pumpkins are known as "kaddu" or "petha" and are cherished for their mild sweetness and smooth texture. They are utilised in both savoury and sweet preparations, showcasing their versatility. Pumpkins are commonly used in curries, where they add a subtle sweetness and a creamy consistency to the dish. 

They are often combined with a medley of spices, such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander, to create hearty and comforting curries. Additionally, pumpkins are also used to make delectable sweets, such as pumpkin halwa, a rich and aromatic dessert made with grated pumpkin, milk, sugar, and fragrant spices like cardamom and saffron. Whether it's a spicy curry or a delightful dessert, pumpkins bring a unique and delightful touch to Indian cuisine.

Beyond their vibrant orange flesh lies a treasure trove of nutrition and wellness in the form of pumpkin seeds. These small, flat, greenish seeds are packed with numerous health benefits and can be incorporated into your daily routine in a variety of ways. 

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Nutrient-rich powerhouses: Pumpkin seeds are a nutritionally dense food, loaded with essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, fibre, vitamins (such as vitamin E, B vitamins, and vitamin K), and minerals (including magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium). Incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet can help support overall health and well-being.

Heart-healthy properties: Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, plant compounds that can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, thus promoting heart health. The seeds are also rich in magnesium, which plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart rhythm and blood pressure. Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly may contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects: Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin E and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases and ageing. Additionally, the presence of various anti-inflammatory compounds in pumpkin seeds may aid in reducing inflammation in the body.

Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

Snack on roasted pumpkin seeds: 

Roasting pumpkin seeds is a popular and delicious way to enjoy their nutty flavour. To make roasted pumpkin seeds, simply clean them, remove any pulp or strings, and dry them thoroughly. Toss the seeds with a little olive oil, sprinkle with your favourite seasonings (such as salt, garlic powder, or chilli flakes), and bake them in the oven at around 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy them as a healthy and satisfying snack on their own or sprinkle them over salads and soups for added crunch.

Add them to your breakfast routine: 

Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds over your morning oatmeal, yoghurt, or smoothie bowl to boost the nutritional content of your breakfast. The crunchy texture and nutty flavour of the seeds will add a delightful twist to your favourite breakfast dishes. Pumpkin seeds can also be ground into a powder and used as a topping for pancakes or incorporated into homemade granola bars for a nutritious start to your day.

Use them in savoury dishes: 

Pumpkin seeds can enhance the flavour and nutritional value of various savoury dishes. Add them to stir-fries, sautéed vegetables, or pasta dishes for an extra crunch and richness. You can also incorporate pumpkin seeds into pesto or make a delicious pumpkin seed dip by blending them with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs. These savoury applications offer a unique way to enjoy the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.