Nothing says “autumn” quite like pumpkin. Come September, this squash plant becomes all the rage! Pumpkin spice usually steals the show, but pumpkin seeds are not far behind. They’re usually eaten by themselves – but why not make a butter? Because pumpkin seeds are packed with excellent health benefits.
The texture of pumpkin seed butter is creamy and thick, like nut butter. It’s also similar to sunflower seed butter, which has been making its way into health food stores. Plus, since pumpkin seed butter is free of nuts, making it a wonderful alternative if you have nut allergies! And then there’s the flavor. With ingredients like cinnamon and nutmeg, you can create the ultimate fall treat.
How To Make Pumpkin Seed Butter
- 3 cups raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin spice (optional)
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or honey (optional)
- Using a food processor, blend the pumpkin seeds for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Every now and then, scrape the container. Continue processing until smooth.
- Add the extra ingredients. Blend until combined.
- Place in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for use.
Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Improves Blood Cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds contain unsaturated fats and fiber. Both nutrients lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol – two factors that treat the heart well. To top it off, they also decrease total cholesterol and triglycerides.1
These factors reduce the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the nation. Heart disease causes about 1 in every 4 deaths!2 By eating heart healthy foods like pumpkin seed butter, you’ll lower your risk.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Pumpkin seeds also offer potassium, a mineral that controls blood pressure. It lessens the effects of sodium and reduces tension in the arteries.3 In fact, one cup of pumpkin seeds has 588 milligrams of potassium – more than a banana.4 Again, this will improve heart health, making it a stellar heart-friendly food.
3. Promotes Sleep
Dealing with insomnia? Eat pumpkin seeds for an excellent dose of tryptophan. According to a 2005 study in Nutritional Neuroscience, it’s just as effective as pharmaceutical grade tryptophan.5
4. Induces Satiety
Pumpkin seeds are packed with fiber and protein, two nutrients that keep you full for a long time. This is great news if you’re trying to lose or manage weight!6 One cup of pumpkin seeds offers 11.8 grams of fiber and 11.87 of protein.7
5. Protects Liver Health
These are more than enough reasons to introduce a variety in making use of your favorite autumn food! Enjoy pumpkin seed butter with apples, bananas, or sweet potato. Spread it on toast or bagels. Add a dollop to oatmeal, yogurt, cookie batters, or smoothies.
|↑1, ↑8||Makni, M., H. Fetoui, N. K. Gargouri, El M. Garoui, H. Jaber, J. Makni, T. Boudawara, and N. Zeghal. “Hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of flax and pumpkin seed mixture rich in ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids in hypercholesterolemic rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46, no. 12 (2008): 3714-3720.|
|↑2||Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑3||Potassium. Oregon State University.|
|↑4, ↑7||Basic Report: 12163, Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Hudson, Craig, Susan Patricia Hudson, Tracy Hecht, and Joan MacKenzie. “Protein source tryptophan versus pharmaceutical grade tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for chronic insomnia.” Nutritional neuroscience 8, no. 2 (2005): 121-127.|
|↑6||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑9||Nkosi, C. Z., A. R. Opoku, and S. E. Terblanche. “Antioxidative effects of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate in CCl4‐Induced liver injury in low‐protein fed rats.” Phytotherapy Research 20, no. 11 (2006): 935-940.|