1. I have officially joined Facebook! I have created a page for Pierce Whole Nutrition and you can follow me by clicking on the pink Facebook icon on the top right. Become a fan and try out the Healthy Pumpkin Bread recipe I posted yesterday. It’s the perfect thing to make with your leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin apple pie in Tuesday’s post.
2. I had a few people ask about nutrition information for the pumpkin apple pie recipe. The reason why I did not include this is because I truly believe we all focus too much on counting calories or fat grams, and not enough on the actual quality of the food we are eating. If we can switch our focus to whole, fresh, unprocessed foods, and create recipes made from these foods, we can begin to change our perspective. We will see food for its nutrients and the benefits we are giving our bodies, rather than for its calorie or fat content. This will lead us to make more balanced choices about what we decide to put into our bodies. I will try to talk about the health benefits of certain foods when I do give you a recipe though.
Now onto pumpkin seeds…
Why do you carve? I do it for the seeds.
It’s fun to have bright, scary pumpkins at your door when trick-or-treaters come knocking. But I have to say that the best part about carving pumpkins each year is the seeds. Ed and I intentionally chose huge pumpkins just so we’d get the most seeds… and when Ted (brother) and his girlfriend Allison came over with their pumpkins, it was clear they had done the same.
Roasting the seeds is simple – just spread a little oil on a cookie sheet (I used grapeseed oil because it maintains its nutrients at higher temperatures than other oils), sprinkle with some sea salt, and roast at 325 degrees. Roasting times will vary, but plan on it taking at least 20 minutes, and try to shuffle them a bit halfway through.
The seeds were delicious, and they taste even better when you know how nutritious they are. Pumpkins and their seeds are in the same family as cantaloupe, cucumbers and squash. They have high amounts of essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper and protein.
Pumpkin seeds have more magnesium than most other foods. Yesterday I wrote about vitamin D and its importance for calcium absorption. Magnesium is similar in that without it, calcium will not be properly absorbed. However, unlike vitamin D, magnesium cannot be obtained naturally. We must get it from foods such as seeds, lemon, grapefruit, nuts, green vegetables, apples and figs. Magnesium is found mainly in bones and muscles, and can help with muscle relaxation, bone strength and blood circulation.
Pumpkin seeds also are rich in phytosterols, which are plant compounds that can help reduce cholesterol in the blood (you want cholesterol in your cells, but too much can cause overflow to the blood, which can be harmful - more on that later), enhance the immune system, and even decrease risk of certain cancers. Other items containing phytosterols include sunflower seeds, pistachios and sesame seeds – all yummy snacks!