Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. Raw pumpkin seeds offer more nutritional value than roasted ones because some nutrients are destroyed during the roasting process. Pepita comes from the Mexican Spanish: pepita de calabaza, “little seed of squash”.
Nutritional Profile– Pepitas contain healthy fats as well as protein, fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamins E and K. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants. There are 170 calories per 30g of raw pepitas which 135 is from fat, 9g of protein and 2g of fiber.
Health Benefits– High zinc content, which is important for prostate health, and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress. Being rich in natural phytosterols leads 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.
Healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers found in pepitas, may provide benefits for heart and liver health. They exhibit anti-inflammatory effects.
Usage– Eat them as a snack or add them to the salads for a little crunch. Also incorporate them as an additional ingredient in bread, muffins, home-made crackers, can be added to the cereals and yogurt.