If you love eating pumpkin seeds and are searching for more ways to enjoy them, then you're in luck. Pumpkin seeds are incredibly versatile and can be used to create great-tasting meals. If you've tried and enjoyed roasted pumpkin seeds, then you'll be happy to know that this seed can also be enjoyed raw. Raw, roasted, or sprouted pumpkin seeds make an excellent addition to your favorite recipes and provide several health benefits. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of roasted vs. raw pumpkin seeds and how you can begin incorporating them into your diet.
What Are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are the seeds harvested from the pumpkin fruit. Though they may be small, they pack a big nutritional punch to help you meet your daily dietary requirements.
While most people associate pumpkin seeds with Halloween, this superfood is one that you can enjoy year-round. Pumpkin seeds are sold in most grocery stores and can be used to create everything from granola to pesto.
Pumpkin Seeds vs. Pepitas
If you've heard of pumpkin seeds being referred to as pepitas, you might be wondering why there are two different names? While pepitas are technically pumpkin seeds, there's a key difference between the two. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds without the shell. These seeds are found in specific types of pumpkins like oilseed and Styrian pumpkins. If your recipe requires unshelled pumpkin seeds, don't worry about cracking the shells yourself. Like shelled pumpkin seeds, you can find pepitas at most grocery stores.
Should You Eat Pumpkin Seeds Raw?
Pumpkins seeds are perfectly safe to enjoy raw. Now, if you do choose to eat raw pumpkin seeds, you'll need to decide if you want to eat them with or without the shell. While shelled pumpkin seeds contain more fiber than unshelled ones, the shell is chewy and may take a bit more work to break down. So deciding how you eat your pumpkin seeds ultimately depends on personal preference.
Additionally, while eating raw pumpkin seeds is perfectly safe, it is worth noting that the raw seeds have a high phytic acid content. Phytic acid is a nutrient found in foods like seeds, nuts and grains, and eating it can make other nutrients like iron and zinc less bioavailable. It may also affect and slow down the production of digestive enzymes, which help us break down food.
Roasted vs. Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Now that you know that eating raw pumpkin seeds is entirely safe, you might wonder about the key differences between roasted vs. raw pumpkin seeds. Roasted and raw pumpkin seeds have several differences, the three main ones being: taste, texture and nutritional value. Here's an overview of each.
While cooked pumpkin has a much sweeter taste than raw pumpkin, it's not the same when it comes to the seeds. Raw pumpkin seeds have a mild flavor that can be added to sweet and savory recipes. Roasted pumpkin seeds produce a more flavorful and nutty taste, which tastes delicious when paired with savory dishes.
Raw, shelled pumpkin seeds have a very chewy texture. While some individuals love their chewiness, others find them hard to break down. On the other hand, roasted pumpkin seeds have a crunchy texture that's easy to bite into and break down.
Though the difference in nutritional value is minimal, the nutrients in roasted vs. raw pumpkin seeds differ slightly. For example, cooking pumpkin seeds can decrease the potency of water-soluble vitamins like B vitamins, riboflavin and thiamine. Additionally, cooked pumpkin seeds also contain lower levels of phytic acid. Continue scrolling for an overview of the nutritional value of raw pumpkin seeds.
Bob's Red Mill Organic Pumpkin Seeds Nutritional Facts
Serving Size 3 Tbsp
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 9 g
Vitamin D 0mcg
The Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
When looking at the nutritional information of pumpkin seeds, you may notice that they contain several vitamins and nutrients essential to a healthy diet. Here are just a few of the many benefits eating more pumpkin seeds can offer.
Pumpkin Seeds Provide Heart-Healthy Fats
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The healthy fats in pumpkin seeds help your body with essential functions like managing cholesterol and regulating blood pressure levels. Eating more healthy fats is an excellent way to boost your overall health and protect your heart from certain diseases.
Pumpkin Seeds May Help You Sleep Better
Pumpkin seeds help your body produce serotonin—a neurochemical that acts as a natural sleeping pill. They do this via the amino acid tryptophan. The tryptophan found in pumpkin seeds gets converted into serotonin in the body. A boost in serotonin levels can help improve the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling happy and rested.
A Boost for Your Immune System
Pumpkin seeds contain potent antioxidants essential to a healthy immune system. Enjoying foods rich in antioxidants, like pumpkin seeds, can help boost your immunity and reduce your chances of getting sick.
How Many Pumpkin Seeds Should You Be Eating?
Now that you know of the many benefits of pumpkin seeds, you may be curious about how often you should consume them. The great thing about pumpkin seeds is that you don't have to eat a bunch of them to reap the benefits. In fact, just two or three tablespoons are enough to enjoy all of their nutritional benefits.
How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds
It is no secret that pumpkin seeds are great for you. So how can you begin to incorporate them into your meals? Pumpkin seeds' mild flavor means you can enjoy experimenting with all flavors, including sweet, spicy and savory. Continue scrolling to discover a few of our favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds. There's something on this list for everyone to enjoy!
Enjoy Pumpkin Seeds as an Energy Boosting Snack
Whether you live an active lifestyle or find yourself getting hungry between meals, carrying healthy snacks with you is an excellent way to keep yourself full and energized. For an on-the-go snack that you can enjoy any time of the day, make these Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls. Loaded with delicious pumpkin flavor, they combine the many benefits of pumpkin seeds with almond protein powder for a convenient grab-and-go snack that will help you reach your health goals.
Bake Pumpkin Seeds into Bread
Adding pumpkin seeds to your favorite bread recipes is a great way to boost the bread's nutritional value while providing a tasty crunch. For a bread that's sure to satisfy everyone at the table, try out this Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread with Flaxseeds and Pepitas. Safe for individuals with celiac disease to enjoy, it's an excellent choice when baking for individuals with food allergies and sensitivities. And those who do eat gluten won't be able to tell the difference. It's a win-win!
Pop Pumpkin Seeds with Popcorn
Your favorite movie theater treat just got a whole lot healthier! Pumpkin seeds are an excellent way to upgrade the texture of your homemade popcorn recipe and add a healthy crunch. Follow a recipe like this Super Snacking Popcorn to make a satisfying treat that even the little ones will love. It's a hit amongst eaters of all ages.
Turn Pumpkin Seeds into Dessert
Everyone loves cookies, so why not impress your guests with a recipe that will turn heads? Working delicious add-ins like pumpkin seeds into your favorite cookie recipes is an excellent way to take this treat to the next level. For an easy-to-follow recipe, try out these Oregon Trail Cookies. Made with Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat Flour, Organic Pumpkin Seeds and Brown Flaxseeds, they're nutritious and delicious.
Now that you better understand the difference between roasted and raw pumpkin seeds, it's time to decide how you'd like to begin incorporating this superfood into your meals. Choose from one of the recipes above, or create your own and start reaping pumpkin seed's many benefits. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, we wish you a wonderful day!
Do you enjoy snacking on pumpkin seeds? We'd love to hear more about the many different ways you cook with this wonder seed. Share your favorite pumpkin seed recipes with us in the comments below!