Hormone & Heart-Healthy Nutrient-Packed Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Seeds

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Gluten-Free pumpkin seeds in a bowl

Are you ready to embark on a delicious and heart-healthy culinary adventure? Look no further than our Spicy Pumpkin Seeds recipe. Creating these delectable pumpkin seeds is a breeze, and the rewards are immense. Picture this: fresh, crunchy pumpkin seeds kissed with the fiery charm of chili powder or cayenne. They're a savory, crispy delight that not only tantalizes your taste buds but also pampers your heart.

These little seeds themselves are packed with nutrients that support cardiovascular health, from magnesium and potassium to heart-healthy fats. Plus, the optional use of olive oil brings a touch of Mediterranean magic to the mix. So, don't wait any longer. Get your hands on some pumpkin seeds and give this super-simple yet incredibly nutritious recipe a try. Your heart—and your taste buds—will thank you!

What Are Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Made Of?

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds are a simple yet scrumptious snack that combines fresh pumpkin seeds with a touch of olive oil, chili powder (and/or cayenne for an extra kick), and a dash of unrefined sea salt. These ingredients come together to create a flavorful and nutritious treat. This is the perfect healthy snack to make after pumpkin carving!

Customizing your Spicy Pumpkin Seeds is as easy as it is delightful. Besides the classic spicy seasoning, there are numerous ways to tailor this recipe to your taste buds and dietary preferences.

Love Italian flavors? Add an Italian seasoning mix for a Mediterranean twist. Craving some Mexican flair? Sprinkle your seeds with a zesty Mexican blend. For those who prefer an exotic touch, go for a curry or Thai seasoning.

Think of all of the spicy and aromatic combinations you could use! You could add garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, or even fresh herbs. All of these aromatic herbs and spices add their own anti-inflammatory goodness.

If you have a sweet tooth, consider coating the seeds in a little stevia extract or another liquid sweetener, then dust them with aromatic cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. It's a delightful contrast to the spicy kick!

For a gluten-free alternative to salt, try wheat-free tamari. It's a flavorful substitute that's sure to tickle your taste buds. If you're looking to boost your nutritional profile, sprinkle some powdered kelp or other sea vegetables over your seeds. These nutrient powerhouses will give your snack an extra health punch.

Finally, for those seeking a savory, cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is your go-to. This versatile ingredient adds a cheesy, umami richness that's perfect for elevating the taste of your pumpkin seeds. It's high in protein and B-Vitamins. Just make sure to check the ingredients and find a nutritional yeast that doesn’t have added synthetic folic acid. I prefer the unfortified brands.

With these customizable options, you can turn your Spicy Pumpkin Seeds into a truly unique and personalized snack that suits your cravings and dietary needs. Enjoy pumpkin recipes with the freedom to experiment and discover your perfect flavor combination!

Heart healthy pumpkin roast

How Do You Make Spicy Pumpkin Seeds?

Making these irresistible Spicy Pumpkin Seeds is as effortless as it is rewarding. Begin by generously coating fresh pumpkin seeds with a touch of olive oil, ensuring each seed glistens with flavor potential. Then, here comes the fun part – add your preferred seasoning. If you crave a spicy kick, opt for chili powder; for those daring souls, a dash of cayenne will ignite your taste buds. Give them all a good, hearty mix to infuse every seed with tantalizing flavors.

Now, the magic unfolds: lay these seasoned seeds gracefully on a dehydrator tray in a single layer where they'll leisurely bask at a cozy 110 degrees. Let them soak up the warmth overnight, perhaps a bit longer if your surroundings are humid.

The result? Exquisite, perfectly crispy Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, ready to elevate your snacking game or become the star ingredient in delightful recipes like pumpkin seed brittle spread pumpkin seeds. Or use them in place of croutons! So many people are looking for gluten-free options for a crispy, crunch on their salads and wraps, this may do the trick!

Prepare to embark on a mouthwatering journey where simplicity meets flavor explosion!

hormone balanacing pumpkin seed recipe

How Do These Ingredients Help with Blood Sugar Balancing and Heart Health?

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds can play a role in maintaining cardiac health while balancing blood sugar due to their nutrient composition. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.

The addition of olive oil further enhances the heart-protective properties, thanks to its monounsaturated fats. Plus, these seeds can help manage cholesterol levels, another essential factor in cardiovascular well-being. The absence of unhealthy trans fats makes them a heart-smart, healthy snack option.

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of essential minerals like zinc and magnesium, which are involved in hormonal regulation and overall health. Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, supports heart health, reducing the risk of heart-related hormonal imbalances. Moreover, the choice of seasoning, like chili powder or cayenne pepper, has metabolic benefits, aiding in weight management and hormone regulation.

Each ingredient in this delightful recipe plays a unique role in supporting hormone balance, especially concerning blood sugar hormones.

Pumpkin seed roast best for a haelth snaks

Pumpkin Seeds Are Packed With Nutrition For Heart Health And Hormones

Raw pumpkin seeds are rich in dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has a unique ability to slow down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract. By doing so, it helps to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. This is especially beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those with insulin resistance.

Several components of pumpkin seeds, including magnesium and antioxidants, have been linked to improved insulin sensitivity. Magnesium, in particular, is involved in various insulin-related processes within the body. Therefore, consuming pumpkin seeds can support better insulin function and help manage insulin resistance.

The nutrient composition of pumpkin seeds makes them a heart-healthy addition to your diet, as well. These small but mighty seeds are packed with a variety of nutrients that can positively impact heart health in several ways.

Raw pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium, with just one ounce providing nearly half of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium is crucial for heart health as it helps regulate blood pressure and supports normal heart rhythm. Adequate magnesium intake can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to keep blood pressure within a healthy range.

Another mineral abundant in pumpkin seeds is potassium. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to relax blood vessel walls and reduce the strain on the heart. A potassium-rich diet, which includes foods like pumpkin seeds, can contribute to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of stroke.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin E. Antioxidants combat oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to inflammation and damage to blood vessels. By reducing oxidative stress, antioxidants like vitamin c in pumpkin seeds contribute to heart health.

Zinc, a vital trace mineral abundant in pumpkin seeds, plays a significant role in promoting heart health through various essential functions. One of its primary functions is bolstering the body's antioxidant defense system. By mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation within blood vessels, zinc helps maintain a heart-healthy environment.

Furthermore, zinc contributes to the regulation of blood pressure. It actively supports the production and release of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule responsible for relaxing blood vessels and subsequently reducing blood pressure. This vasodilatory effect eases the workload on the heart and helps maintain optimal blood pressure levels.

Zinc also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, crucial for heart health. Chronic inflammation is a leading factor in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. Zinc's ability to mitigate inflammation in blood vessel walls aids in preventing atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaque in arteries.

In addition, zinc supports immune function, fortifying the body's defenses against infections that might lead to cardiovascular inflammation. Finally, zinc is essential for overall cellular health, as it maintains cell membrane integrity and facilitates DNA replication, all of which contribute to the proper functioning of heart cells.

Balancing zinc intake is key, as excessive amounts can lead to adverse effects. Pumpkin seeds offer a healthy dose of zinc, along with a wealth of other heart-healthy nutrients, making them a valuable addition to a heart-conscious diet.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a nutritional powerhouse that offers numerous benefits for heart health and blood sugar regulation. Rich in monounsaturated fat, particularly oleic acid, it has been a dietary staple in Mediterranean cultures, which is associated with lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.

First and foremost, olive oil's monounsaturated fats are renowned for their heart-protective properties. These healthy fats help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. Simultaneously, they elevate levels of HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol. This balance promotes healthier arteries by reducing the buildup of plaque and inflammation, thereby lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Additionally, olive oil is a potent source of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Oxidative stress can damage blood vessels and contribute to heart disease. The polyphenols found in olive oil have also been linked to improved blood vessel function and reduced blood pressure, further supporting heart health.

In terms of blood sugar regulation, olive oil has a low glycemic index, meaning it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels when consumed. This quality is particularly advantageous for individuals with insulin resistance and those aiming to prevent blood sugar spikes.

Olive oil also contains compounds that enhance insulin sensitivity, making it easier for cells to respond to insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively. By promoting better insulin function, olive oil contributes to balanced blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and related heart complications.

Incorporating olive oil into your diet can be a delicious and health-conscious choice. Its nutrient-rich profile not only supports heart health but also aids in maintaining steady blood sugar levels, making it a valuable ally in overall well-being.

Chili Powder or Cayenne Pepper

Chilies and cayenne peppers, with their fiery heat, not only add a burst of flavor to your dishes but also offer several potential health benefits related to hormones, blood sugar, and heart health.

Chilies contain capsaicin, a phytochemical responsible for their heat. Research suggests that capsaicin impacts hormones, particularly in areas like weight management. Capsaicin can stimulate brown fat, which helps burn calories and regulate metabolism.

Chili peppers, including cayenne, have demonstrated potential in helping manage blood sugar levels. Capsaicin can improve insulin sensitivity, making cells more responsive to insulin. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest that capsaicin may also reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.

Capsaicin also aids in increasing the breakdown of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, in the bloodstream. This can contribute to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Capsaicin has been associated with improved endothelial function, leading to better blood vessel dilation and reduced blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure is crucial for heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease. Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system.

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for heart health. Capsaicin can increase metabolism and reduce appetite, which aids in weight management and, subsequently, heart health.

It's important to note that while chilies and cayenne peppers have potential health benefits, the concentration of capsaicin varies between pepper varieties, so the effects can differ depending on the type and quantity of pepper consumed.

Unrefined Sea Salt

The minerals found in unrefined salt can have various effects on heart health and hormone regulation.

Unrefined salt contains more than just the sodium and chloride found in table salt. It contains magnesium and potassium mentioned above, and it is also loaded with other minerals.

· Calcium is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including the heart muscle. It also helps with blood clotting. Adequate calcium intake may contribute to overall heart health.

· Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps protect cells from oxidative damage. It has a role in reducing inflammation and preventing cardiovascular diseases. Selenium is also associated with thyroid hormone metabolism, which affects metabolism and overall hormone regulation.

· Iodine is crucial for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. Proper thyroid function is important for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing metabolic disorders.

· Zinc plays a role in insulin storage and release in the pancreas. It also contributes to insulin sensitivity, which can help control blood sugar levels. Zinc deficiency may impair glucose metabolism.

· Chromium, although typically found in very small amounts, chromium is involved in insulin signaling and may enhance the action of insulin.

· Copper is essential for the formation of collagen and elastin, which are important for blood vessel health. Adequate copper levels may contribute to maintaining the elasticity and integrity of blood vessels.

Unrefined salt, which contains these minerals in small amounts, can support heart health and hormonal balance. However, it's essential to consume these minerals from a variety of food sources as well, as relying solely on salt for mineral intake may not provide sufficient amounts for optimal health.

Now that you're well-acquainted with the fantastic health benefits that our Spiced Pumpkin Seeds offer, it's time to dive into the kitchen and whip up this tantalizing treat. Imagine the irresistible aroma wafting through your home as these seeds slowly dehydrate, becoming perfectly crunchy and flavorful.

Whether you're craving a nutritious snack or a unique addition to your culinary repertoire, these seeds have got you covered. Don't miss the chance to savor a delightful combination of savory, spicy, and wholesome goodness.

So, let's embark on this culinary journey together, where taste and well-being harmonize in every bite. Grab those fresh pumpkin seeds and let's get cooking!

A snack health option for the heart roasted pumpkin seeds
Gluten-Free pumpkin seeds in a bowl

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pumpkin Seeds

In addition to the heart-healthy fats and minerals like potassium and magnesium that these tiny seeds themselves contain, the optional addition of olive oil adds a touch of Mediterranean magic to the dish. So, do not hesitate any longer, grab some pumpkin seeds, and try this incredibly easy yet nutrient-dense recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 10 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American, American (Holiday)
Servings 4
Calories 1 kcal

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • dehydrator

Ingredients

  • Fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil per 2 cups seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder and/ or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt unrefined per 2 cups seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • Use clean pumpkin seeds.
  • Toss the pumpkin seeds with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings, and mix well.
  • Spread the seeds on the mesh tray, Teflex sheet, or even parchment paper on a tray of your dehydrator and set it to 110 degrees.
  • Dehydrate for 12 – 24 hours or longer, depending on how moist your environment is, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcalCarbohydrates: 0.2gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 154mgPotassium: 10mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.04gVitamin A: 148IUVitamin C: 0.003mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword cardiovascular health, food for hormone balance, gluten free, health snack, heart health, pumpkin seeds
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Seasoning Options

Add your favorite seasoning mix: Italian, Mexican, curry, Thai. Try to coat the seeds in stevia or another liquid sweetener and sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Use wheat-free tamari instead of salt. Sprinkle with powdered kelp or other sea vegetables for extra nutrition. Use nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you have 3 options.

1. One is to just pumpkin seeds in a conventional manner, at 350 degrees for a total cooking time of about 20 minutes. Because the pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3 fats, which are very sensitive to heat, this is not the best option.

2. Second is an option if you have a convection oven. Simply set it to 110 degrees put the seeds on a cookie sheet and let it run until the seeds are dried and crunchy.

3. Third option: if you have an oven with a digital temperature setting, you can usually set it as low as 100 or 120. Do that. In a standard oven set to warm and open the oven door a bit periodically throughout the drying process.

Where Can You Find This and other nutritious and delicioyus recipes like it?

You can find this fantastic Spicy Pumpkin Seeds recipe in the book, available on Amazon, “Dr. Ritamarie's Healthy Halloween Treats: Quick Nourishing and Delicious Recipes and Rituals to Delight Kids of All Ages.” This pumpkin seed recipe, along with many other nourishing and delightful treats, can also be accessed in the recipe vault of the Empowered Self Care Lab. It's a great snack that's the perfect addition to your collection of healthy and tasty snacks for any occasion.

tanquility and Physical rest
Try this collection for additional ideas for preparing nutrient-dense greens and other phytonutrient-rich veggies.

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