Monday, I talked about it being pumpkin season. Today I want to expand on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.  If you are interested in using pumpkin for healthy recipes, the seeds are a great place to start! Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, are low in fat, and are great for having as a snack or putting on salads. Here are some things to know about pumpkin seeds.

They Are Loaded with Health Benefits

Pumpkin seeds, like the flesh of a pumpkin, have a lot of vitamins and minerals. They are delicious and wonderful to have in the fall, but don’t forget they are also really good for you. Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of magnesium, which is a type of electrolyte that is good for overall health. Some other nutrients include:

  • Zinc, which helps with your immune system and boosts male reproductive health
  • Fiber to help with digestive health and weight loss
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Nutrients that help with your prostate health
  • Promotes better sleep

You Can Roast Your Own Seeds

While you can buy pumpkin seeds either salted or unsalted in grocery stores and health food stores, during pumpkin season, you can easily make them at home. When you are getting ready to carve your Jack O’Lantern, scoop out the seeds and instead of throwing them away, save them so that you can roast your own seeds. This is also ideal if you are already roasting your own pumpkin to use in recipes or to make your own pumpkin puree.

To make your pumpkin seeds, start by separating them from the guts of the pumpkin, placing them in a colander, and rinsing really well. Make sure they are completely rinsed with no guts stuck to them. Put the seeds on a paper towel so they can dry a little. If you are planning on seasoning them with salt or other seasoning, you might want to add the seasoning while they are still wet so it sticks. But you can also coat them with oil, then add the seasoning.

Turn your oven to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit and roast them for 15 minutes. Try to avoid more than 20 minutes or you might roast out the nutrients of the seeds. Remove them from the oven and store in an air tight container.

Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

The simplest way to add more pumpkin seeds to your diet is to eat them as a snack. Grab a handful and munch on them when you’re feeling a little hungry. You can also top salads, soups, and chilis with the seeds, or grind them up to add to various baked recipes as well.