This Halloween, don’t toss those tasty seeds you’re scooping out of the stringy guts of the jack-o'-lantern. They’re an easy and delicious snack even the kids will love. Store-bought pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are easy to eat and loaded with nutrients — but they may be loaded with salt as well. When they come straight from the source, pumpkin seeds are lower in sodium and have more of the minerals that make them so nutritious.
Pumpkin seeds can be eaten with or without their shells. Eating the shells adds extra crunch and more fiber, which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and obesity. Whole, roasted pumpkin seeds in their shells have about 5.2 grams of fiber per serving, while shelled seeds have just 1.8 grams.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, which is good for heart and bone health and helps lower blood pressure. Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds includes 42% percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium, a nutrient many of us don’t get enough of.
A serving of seeds contains about 6.6 mg of zinc, which is almost half the recommended daily intake. Zinc is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent that helps boost your immune system.
So don’t let the seeds of your grinning pumpkin pal go to waste. You can munch on them as a smart snack, toss them into salads and soups, and even bake with them. For example, they add a healthy crunch to this Sweet Potato Casserole.
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