Nuts and seeds are a healthy alternative to processed snacks. You’d get more nutrients per grams in nuts and seeds than in, say, a quick snack like a doughnut or potato chips. Nuts and seeds are definitely better than sugar laden or fried snacks and will help keep you full for longer.
One example of a healthy seed that you can snack on are pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are flat, teardrop shaped seeds that have a white shell. When they do not have a shell, they are green in colour.
Pumpkin seeds are tasty and are packed with nutrients. An ounce of pumpkin seeds only has 151 calories and contains:
- Fiber: 1.7 grams.
- Carbs: 5 grams.
- Protein: 7 grams.
- Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s).
- Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 42% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 37% of the RDI.
- Iron: 23% of the RDI.
- Zinc: 14% of the RDI.
- Copper: 19% of the RDI.
And that’s not all, pumpkin seeds also contain antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals. It’s also chock full of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
Because pumpkin seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, incorporating it into your diet can give you a lot of health benefits.
- Due to its antioxidant content, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce arthritis pain. Antioxidants combined with phytochemicals strengthen your immunity to build resistance against infections and illnesses
- Its zinc content can help protect you against osteoporosis.
- Studies show that pumpkin seeds are good for prostate health and can prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
- Pumpkin seeds contain a compound called phytosterols that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and its antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids content may also improve heart health.
- It is high in fiber which promotes digestive health.
- Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps promote sleep and fight depression.
How to incorporate them into your diet:
- Eat them raw, slightly toasted or dry roasted, salted or unsalted. They’re fun to eat, like shelled peanuts!
- Use them in baking. You can make a nuts and seeds loaf.
- Add them as a topping or garnish. Top your smoothies with raw seeds or add to greek yogurt and fruit.
- Add them in cereals, soups, or salads. They add a different texture and layer of flavour.
- Add them to granola or your favourite trail mix.