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Feeling Stressed? Eat Pumpkin Seeds!

by MLN Staff

Are you planning on decorating your home with pumpkins this holiday season? If you scoop out the pumpkin pulp to make a jack-o-lantern or a pumpkin vase, be sure to keep the pumpkin seeds—they make for a delicious, stress-busting snack.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) are packed with nutrients, including zinc, vitamin E, protein, and magnesium, and these nutrients have some serious health benefits. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it can lower cortisol and blood pressure levels. Magnesium is a mineral that can help ease anxiety, relax your muscles, and help you fall to sleep. These seeds are also known to boost your immune system.

Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Want to add more pumpkin seeds to your diet? Consider the pumpkin recipes listed below. 
  • Eat roasted pepitas. One of simplest ways to cook pepitas is to add a few spices and roast them. There are numerous flavoring combinations that you can try. One of the most popular flavor combinations is cinnamon sugar and all that’s needed is pumpkin seeds, butter, sugar, and ground cinnamon. But you might also want to try Cajun (butter, Cajun seasoning, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper), mocha (sugar, cocoa, coffee granules, and egg whites), and ranch pumpkin seeds (butter and ranch seasoning). 
  • Use seeds in your homemade muffins. Want to include pumpkin seeds your breakfast menu? Consider baking fresh muffins with pepitas. Martha Stewart has a pumpkin muffin recipe that includes raw green pepitas. If you want something more than just pumpkin, you’d probably enjoy orange, carrot, honey, and pumpkin seed muffins. And if you’re looking for a muffin with a different flavor than pumpkin, try this recipe for butternut squash and apple muffins. They are topped with pumpkin seeds.
  • Add the seeds to your granola or trail mix. Pepitas make a great addition to any lunch or snack. For instance, you can make homemade granola and sprinkle it over yogurt. This recipe for pumpkin maple pecan granola includes oats, pecans, pepitas, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup. And if you’re interested, you can make pumpkin seed trail mix too. This recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, salt, and dried cherries or cranberries.
  • Bake some cookies. Do you love pumpkin cookies? Consider adding pumpkin seeds to your dough for extra nutrition. This recipe calls for, among other things, pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, dried currants, and oats. Are you more of a chocolate fanatic? Here’s a recipe for chocolate-chunk and pumpkin seed cookies.

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