SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

August 10, 2014

Pumpkin Seeds, all-star fruit

 Eating nuts-seeds is wise,  do it right

Why is it wise? Well people often ingest nuts and seeds not just because they are so good, but because they are rather high in “protein.”  As an aside, just one ounce of pumpkin seeds provide about seven (7) grams of protein. When trying to juggle one’s nutrient intake for optimum health, the protein and mineral contents of nuts and seeds can be highly advantageous. . . . it’s not just for vegans!  They can be absolute powerhouses with simple effort and a bit of forethought as all nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrient content which is no accident of nature — it was designed by nature to protect them from both predators and also, accidental or early germination before they were ready to go.  

It has long been known by earlier generations that nuts and seeds could be upsetting to our digestive system  and it was discovered that  soaking then drying or roasting completely solved this problem of systemic distress.  Of course, our scientific understanding these days is far greater and we now have the reasons why all this is.

 This is now  how I prepare nuts  and I wouldn’t consider just eating raw nuts anymore. . . for the negative results are counter productive and injurious whereas the solution is as easy as 1,2,3 and more delicious.  I soak the nuts in pure water with sea salt for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, then drain, spread out onto cookie sheets and put in a lowest point on the oven.  But of course, one can add spices of choice like various peppers or cinnamon or garlic or garlic powder or jalapeno and/or some coconut oil — any of this is great for pumpkin seeds, or not!  They are great with soaking in salt water and simple roasting.

If you just put ‘soaking nuts and seeds’  into your browser, you will find all kinds of people willing and anxious to share how they do it.    For me, the definitive answer will always come from Sally Fallon at the Nourishing Gourmet.  I wish every home could have Ms Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook as it contains history, lore and of course her recipes. . .it is a treasure.

What follows here is a combination of files I had on this topic by Dr Mercola, JJ Virgin and various others I’ve found online as well as Nourishing Traditions, plus a link or two I enjoyed on “how to”.

 

Soaking and Sprouting Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Beans

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/…/how-to-soak-and-sprout-…

Vegetarian Times

Mar 18, 2013 – Soaking and sprouting is very easy. The method is exactly the same fornuts, seeds, grains, and beans—only the time required for full ..

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PUMPKIN  SEEDS

pumpkin

 

If you’re in the mood for a chewy snack that doubles as a phenomenal health food, look no further than pumpkin seeds.

With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.

Best of all, because pumpkin seeds are highly portable and require no refrigeration, they make an excellent snack to keep with you whenever you’re on the go, or they can be used as a quick anytime snack at home, too.

10 Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Heart Healthy Magnesium

One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.

Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.

  1. Zinc for Immune Support

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.

Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and  diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.

  1. Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3’s (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)).  The fatty acid oil of pumpkin seeds is high in phytosterols which is so similar to cholesterol  that it can replace it in our bodies, and in so doing – reducing our blood cholesterol levels.

. 4.  Eye-care – Macular degeneration and Cataracts

Pumpkin is actually an incredibly healthful gourd. Pumpkin meat is high in carotenoids, which work to neutralize free radicals — those pesky molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave them susceptible to damage. Specifically, pumpkin is high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which hunt down free radicals that are present in the lens of the eye, preventing macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts.

      5.  Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed oil used in combination with saw palmetto may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.

      6.  Anti-Diabetic Effects

Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.

      7.  Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

.    .8.  Heart and Liver Health

Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.

.   .9.  Tryptophan for Restful Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep.

      10.  Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.

What’s the Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds?

crispy pumpkin seeds nourishing traditions

 

In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh – not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate rancidity or the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Organic pumpkin seeds are preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

However,  nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable   (substitute the word non for less – Jan) when you consume them. So if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis it would be wise to soak or sprout them. To make them more palatable you can then dehydrate them in your oven, or better yet and more cost effectively in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market but Excalibur is generally considered the best. I have used one for over 20 years. They are readily available on Amazon.
  • If you prefer to eat the seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time. Raw pumpkin seeds can be roasted on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius), sprinkled with Himalayan or other natural salt, for about 15-20 minutes.

 

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